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VERIFY: Can your COVID-19 mask block pollen and allergies?

The familiar pandemic protocol of masking has proven to curb ailments other than COVID-19 infection. Can that protection apply to allergies?

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Those in North Carolina with seasonal allergies are probably feeling them stir right now.

Could a familiar pandemic tool can help block the pollen?


Can masking help protect against seasonal allergies?


Yes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the masks people wear to slow the spread of COVID-19 are also useful at blocking larger allergens from being inhaled.

According to Dr. David Priest, an infectious disease specialist with Novant Health, the pandemic protocol of masking is pretty useful, and it's not just for coronavirus safety.

"Our influenza numbers were very low, the lowest we've ever seen, and I think that was for a number of reasons. One is: people masked," Priest said. "I think it would be no different, in this case, that individuals who wear a mask can be more protected from tree or grass or pollens that are out there–as we get into spring in North Carolina, that can be pretty brutal."

The CDC says one of the best ways to protect against seasonal allergies is to reduce exposure to pollen and masks can help with that by blocking larger particles from being inhaled. However, it also states that smaller particles could still get through. So, for allergy sufferers, masks should not be the only protection used.

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People with reusable masks should already be washing them regularly, but the CDC says, for allergy sufferers, it's even more important since masks can become pollen carriers after each use.

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