Masking for allergies? Expert says it could help relieve symptoms


A bee located in the bloom of a hibiscus collects pollen from its pistil on July 25, 2020. (Photo by THOMAS KIENZLE / AFP) (Photo by THOMAS KIENZLE/AFP via Getty Images)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Feeling a little under the weather? Runny nose? Sore throat? Well, it could be your allergies, as pollen counts increasing in certain areas.

Matt Brazitis and his dog Deacon walk their Texas neighborhood on a regular basis. But with the cedar count high, he hasn’t been feeling great.

“My throat has been itching and my eyes have been watering,” Brazitis said as Deacon pulled him along during their walk.

He even got a COVID-19 test thinking it could be the virus.

“We were a little worried, but the results came back negative,” Brazitis said.

Brazitis certainly isn’t the only one dealing with allergies right now.

“People can feel pretty miserable during cedar if they are allergic,” said Dr. Sheila Amar with the Allergy and Asthma Center of Georgetown.

Amar said cedar won’t cause a fever, even though most call the reaction to the pollen “cedar fever,” but many symptoms can be confused with COVID-19.

“This week it can be difficult because a lot of people are coughing and have sore throats,” Amar said.

Like the virus, a mask might be the best way to fight back.

“Masks are actually quite helpful for allergies and even before COVID-19 pandemic we used to tell people to wear masks if they are doing yard work or mowing the lawn,” Dr. Amar said.

But make sure to wash those masks or get another after your done using it.

“Most of the pollen is sticking to the outside of the mask,” Amar said.

Dr. Amar said this year, the pollen counts have been higher than in years past.

“I think wearing masks people have felt a little bit better, and people have been generally a little more restrictive in their activities because of COVID-19,” Amar said.

Dr. Amar said pets can also pick up pollen while outside and bring it into a home. If you are highly allergic, she said your best bet is to stay inside when pollen counts are very high.

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