Image by Markus Winkler from Pixabay

September 28th, 2020

Seasonal allergies and pollution irritants are reduced by the wearing of masks for COVID prevention. Dr. Dror and colleagues looked at the effects of the pandemic mask wearing intervention and allergic rhinitis suffering. They found that individuals wearing masks had significant reductions in allergic rhinitis symptoms presumably due to reduced allergen exposure. There was little benefit from adding the tightly woven N95 type mask over the standard good quality surgical mask. The masks also cause increased humidity to breathed air which has differential effects on allergen responses.

While this is not surprising, it is a nice side benefit of the annoying mask reality. The most important thing to do when exposed to allergens in the absence of a mask is to rinse your nasal passages with sterile water through a neti pot, effectively clearing out the allergens.

The most effective way to reduce allergic disease is to rebalance the immune system away from the TH2 allergy phenotype. I highly recommend all allergy sufferers consider beginning a course of sublingual immune therapy, SLIT, in conjunction with an anti inflammatory diet, D Hist, zinc, probiotics and vitamin D supplements. Allergy Choices is a great company to work with to design your SLIT to your specific allergen profile for healing.

Dr. M

Dror J Allergy and Clinical Immunology

An unfortunate consequence of the ubiquitous mask wearing will be the environmental impact of the used masks on our oceans and waterways as far too many people are jettisoning these used materials into streets and sidewalks which end up being washed away by rain into the waterways and blown by the wind wherever. Please dispose of all masks and materials into the trash. Our waterways depend on it.

If you are exposed to large or recurrent volumes of disinfectant aerosols during the COVID time, keep your N95 mask on and tightly fitted to avoid airway irritation and inflammation during exposures, especially, those with COPD or asthma who are at higher risk for damage.