People aren’t just wearing masks for COVID-19, doctors say

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — With the arrival of spring more people are heading outside to get some fresh air, but recent weeks have also brought high pollen levels.

Dr. Kelley von Elten, of RVA Allergy on Forest Avenue, said masks provide an extra layer of protection against pollen and other particles.

The barrier can help prevent different sizes of pollen from traveling easily down the nasal and respiratory tract, she said.

“It can help people avoid some of the worst symptoms,” said von Elten.

She advises her allergy patients to wear masks while doing outdoor activities like mowing the lawn.

“We also sometimes recommend goggles to the patients who are really sensitive from an eye perspective,” said Dr. von Elten.

Mask-wearing before the pandemic was more widespread in other countries for different reasons, said von Elten. 

However, the country could see an increase in people wearing masks even after the pandemic is over, especially during the allergy season.

“I don’t know if it’ll stay as a recommendation all the time, but I do think for those who have found it useful we might see more of it,” she said.

Aleigha Chandler, who had chronic allergies, said she believes masks have lessened her usual symptoms.

“When I’m at work sneezing and coughing, I’m glad the germs don’t go everywhere because I’ve got the protection for other people,” she said.

Henry Phillips said he may even consider wearing masks well after the pandemic is over.
“I’ve noticed a lot less runny nose. It keeps me at ease at times,” he said.

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