This never would have even occurred to me to ask if it hadn’t been for the covid-19 pandemic, but since wearing face masks is a thing in North America now is there any chance they will improve my allergies?
Dror et al (2020) found that nurses with chronic rhinitis including runny or plugged nose, sneezing, and itchy, watery eyes reported reduced symptom severity. These results support those of Gotoh et al (2005) who found that while wearing glasses and face masks didn’t change the number of pollen particles in the nose and eyes, they did significantly reduce the invasion rate. What you may ask is the invasion rate — because I certainly did. Since levels of airborne pollen particles fluctuates the invasion rate was a comparison of what percentage of pollen got through the mask and eye glasses. So effectively this means that the proportion of pollen present that gets access to the places that will cause you to react is significantly reduced.
I have never been socialized to wearing a mask until the pandemic, but I’m starting to wonder why the heck mask wearing isn’t more widespread. I have fun masks that I can use to make statements about who I am, like my Schrodinger’s cat mask above. They help keep the people around me safe if I’m sick and can’t stay home. They help keep me safe if someone else is sick, and wears a mask, and can’t go home. They keep my face warm in the cold without the bulkiness of a scarf. And they’ll help me with my allergies. Why is anyone fighting this!?