Can wearing a mask reduce allergy symptoms?

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It’s fall, which means it’s ragweed season. Even those who do not suffer from seasonal allergies can fall victim to the high pollen count.

AUSTIN, Texas – It’s fall and the season, as most of us may know, comes with allergies.

Some of us look forward to this time of year for pumpkin spice drinks and cooler weather. Others remember it because it’s pollen season, something Ausitn resident Owen Moorhead is no stranger to.

“I have lived in Austin my whole life,” he said. “I had seasonal allergies from when I was maybe eight or nine, and it was the most miserable experience.”

It is October, ragweed is the leading cause of allergy in central Texas.

“Fall is the worst time,” Moorhead said.

Dr Dagoberto Balderas of Balderas Family Medicine in Austin said anyone can be a victim of ragweed.

“Even patients without allergies can suffer simply because of the volume of pollen that occurs,” Balderas said.

But if they don’t regularly suffer from allergies, it’s easy to be wrong.

Now that we are in the midst of a pandemic and many still wear masks, KVUE asked Dr Balderas if wearing face coverings could help.

“The answer is yes, they will help,” he says.

He also said there was more to it.

“Managing allergy symptoms requires a lot more than just wearing a mask just because allergies will stick to everything, including your hair, your clothes,” he said.

So while face masks help, Balderas says pollen and microscopic particles will always find a way into your home.

“You may think you are allergic to the pet when in fact you are just allergic to the pollen sticking to it, just like they would yours or mine,” Balderas added.

So if you have severe allergies like Moorhead try to avoid things he couldn’t do as a kid.

“It didn’t help that I love being outside and that I love to explore,” Moorhead said. “You encounter ragweed more often if you go out and play in the stream.”

If you’re going out, here’s a tip: bring extra tissues.

“There were days when I ran out of Kleenex and had to use my shirt, and I got my shirt all raw with snot,” Moorhead added.

Some advice from Dr Balderas:

  • Wash your hair and clothes on entering.
  • Use nasal saline solutions to rinse the sinuses.
  • Take allergy medications like Allegra or Claritin to help relieve allergy symptoms.

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