Masks Can Help During a Tough Allergy Season

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“From the beginning of spring to when things start dying in fall, it’s 24/7 allergies,” said Mitchell Moscovics.

He says he’s allergic to almost every type of pollen and every type of animal. And he’s one of many allergy sufferers who are trying to breathe a sigh of relief.

“They’re pretty bad this year,” said Faith Kim. “After rainy days it feels a lot better. It kind of washes everything away.”

But there’s not much help from other nature. A stretch of warm days and few rain showers is causing a pollen pile up.

Yale School of Medicine allergist and immunologist Ryan Steele says we’re getting a taste of pre-pandemic allergies now that masking is coming down.

“Last year when we were kind of at the height of the pandemic at this time people symptomatically were improved because they were inhaling fewer of those allergens,” Steele said.

He adds that we’re also starting to see annual data on seasonal pollen that suggests we’re trending toward worse allergy seasons. 

“Outdoor activities I just tend to deal with I just try to make sure I take an allergy pill before I go out and about,” Moscovics said, making note that he’s going to continue wearing a mask outside to help. 

Over-the-counter allergy meds can relieve some symptoms like sneezing, watery eyes and sore throats. But Steele suggests talking to your doctor about medical allergy treatments, like shots or pills.

“We can actually make your immune system ignore those pollens,” said Steele.

Speaking of immune systems, Moscovics says there’s always a nagging question in the back of his mind.

“I’ve always thought like, okay, waking up with a scratchy throat sneezing runny nose, I’m like is it COVID?”

Steele says to pay attention to your body to see if the discomfort is more than a seasonal annoyance.

“If you’re having a fever or if you’re having chills, muscle aches those aren’t typical symptoms of allergies,” Steele said.

He suggests planning out your day. Pollen is highest in the mornings so try to avoid outdoor activities then. He also suggests removing your hat, jacket and shoes when you come inside so you’re not tracking the pollen into your home.  

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