Share on PinterestExperts say face masks can reduce outdoor allergies if worn properly và cleaned regularly. Ines Fraile/Getty Images
Researchers say COVID-19 face masks are helping people with outdoor allergies because they filter out pollen.

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But they say people need lớn keep their masks clean and remove them properly.On the other hvà, people with indoor allergies, such as khổng lồ pet hair & dust mites, may have more serious cases this year due khổng lồ stay-at-trang chính orders.All data & statistics are based on publicly available data at the time of publication. Some information may be out of date. Visit our coronavirut hub và follow our live updates page for the most recent information on the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 preventive sầu measures, such as mask wearing, may have sầu additional benefits for people with pollen allergies.

However, for people who have issues with indoor allergens, COVID-19 lockdowns may be making things worse.

“A lot of our pollen-allergic patients are actually doing very well because they tend lớn stay indoors, & when they’re going outdoors they’re wearing a mask. They’re doing avoidance measures, so they’re doing better,” Dr. Rita Kachru, an allergy speciamenu at UCLA Health in California, told zerovn.net.

“What we’re finding is patients who have sầu indoor allergies, such as dust mite, cat, or dog allergies, are actually doing worse,” she added.

In the United States, as many as 60 million people per year experience allergic rhinitis, also referred to as hay fever.

Reactions occur when the immune system incorrectly identifies allergens like pollen as a threat and mounts an immune response. This can cause sneezing, nasal congestion, a runny nose, and itchy eyes.

Pollen is airborne và can be inhaled. But allergy experts have sầu noted since mask wearing became commonplace across the United States, many people have sầu reported changes lớn their allergy symptoms related lớn pollen.

“There has been a decrease in symptom severity with mask use,” Dr. Sayantani Sindher, a professor of allergy và immunology at Stanford University School of Medicine in California, told zerovn.net.

An 20trăng tròn study published in the fall found that nurses who wore face masks during COVID-19 reported fewer symptoms of allergic rhinitis.

The authors of the study report that both standard surgical masks & N95 respirators can filter out airborne allergens.

A standard surgical mask can filter particles larger than 3 micrometers, while an N95 mask can filter particles as small as 0.04 micrometers.

Pollen is typically between 10 và 100 micrometers in kích cỡ. Fungal spores are usually between 2 và 50 micrometers, và house dust mite feces are between 10 & 40 micrometers.

Wearing a mask could filter out all these allergens.

“Masks that have sầu filtration levels that can catch the small particles like pollen can help prevent against the inhalation of pollen. You just have to make sure that your mask is clean,” Dr. Elisabeth Ference, an ear, nose, và throat doctor at Keck Medicine of USC, told zerovn.net.

Ference said proper care of masks is important not only for avoiding COVID-19 transmission but also for avoiding allergens, especially for people with allergies.

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“When people are reusing their masks without washing them, pollen can actually build up on the mask, and if you’re putting that mask on your face, then you can actually be putting more pollen on your face,” she said.

“If the outside of the mask picks up pollen & you touch the outside of the mask và then touch your eye or your nose, you could have an allergic reaction from the pollen that collects on the mask. That’s why it’s important we wash our masks frequently,” Ference said.

Proper mask handling and removal is also important to avoid viruses & other irritants.

“When we advise people of how to lớn remove the mask, it is to lớn remove it from the side so you’re not really touching the front part of the mask, & to lớn limit touching it,” Kachru said.

“When you reuse it, be aware whatever particles fell on top of the mask — whether it’s a vi khuẩn, whether it’s an allergen, whatever it is — you want lớn decrease your exposure, so you’re not flipping the mask, because then, yes, you will be exposed to lớn it,” she added.

The Centers for Disease Control và Prevention (CDC) says that while masks may add some additional protection against seasonal allergies, they should not be used as the only protection against pollen exposure.

The CDC advises people, particularly those with allergies, khổng lồ wash masks after each use.

Allergens don’t just exist outside.

The experts who spoke with zerovn.net said their patients with indoor allergies have seen an increase in symptoms during COVID-19 that’s related khổng lồ stay-at-home measures.

“My patients who have allergies that are found inside the home page, their allergies are much worse just because we are confined lớn our homes so much more during the course of our days,” Ference said.

“I’ve seen many people who previously didn’t spend that much time in a house with carpet, but now that they’re home page a lot, they’ve actually had worsening of their nasal symptoms due khổng lồ indoor allergens. It’s interesting trading one phối of allergens for another,” she added.

Comtháng indoor allergens include cockroaches, mold, cats và dogs, và dust mites.

“Dust mites are little mites that live everywhere. They live sầu on our skin, they live sầu on mattresses, they live on carpet, on clothes. They love anything they can absorb into lớn,” Kachru said.

Keeping the home environment as allergy-friendly as possible, experts say, is the best way lớn avoid allergy symptoms during extended periods spent inside.

“Dust mites especially love sầu upholstery, so pillows, curtains, carpet. Try to lớn remove as much as possible extra upholstery, especially from places where you’re spending a lot of time, such as bedrooms,” Ference said.

“During the pandemic, I see a lot of my patients who both sleep in their bedrooms and it’s their quiet workspace as well, & if the bedroom is carpeted or they have extra curtains, that can be an area for dust mites khổng lồ collect,” she said.

An 20trăng tròn study published in the summer described the combination of dust mites and COVID-19 lockdowns as the “perfect storm” for people who have sầu indoor allergies.

Sindher said a good cleaning routine lớn combat some allergens found in the trang chủ is important.

“Cleaning & reducing dust mites, pet dander in the trang chính can absolutely help symptoms from allergies, if those allergens are a trigger,” she said.

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“My main suggestion is that sweeping can actually cause the tiny allergens lớn become suspended in the air and then resettle, so not really improving the issue. I typically recommend vacuuming and mopping khổng lồ really reduce the allergen load. Also bedding should be washed weekly (or more frequently as needed) in hot water,” Sindher said.