Face coverings have been made mandatory in shops and on public transport, and will soon be required in even more public places, helping to prevent the spread of Covid-19 being transmitted via infectious droplets from sneezing and coughing.
While the British public has embraced this new legislation, allergy sufferers have been struggling to adapt, with Allergy UK reporting a surge in calls to its helpline.
Complaints show that wearing a face covering causes serious discomfort for people with a variety of allergies, from rhinitis (inflammation of the inside of the nose due to allergens) and nasal blockage, to asthma and itchy skin conditions.
Hay fever sufferers have been particularly badly hit, with the new legislation falling right in the middle of Hay fever season. This is no surprise, given 30% of adults and 40% of children in the UK are affected by the allergy. (1)
Because Hay fever symptoms cause a blocked, stuffy nose and sufferers can often only breath through their mouths, wearing a face covering often makes them feel like they can’t get enough air to breath properly, leaving them distressed and panicked.
If this sounds all too familiar to you, luckily Allergy UK has provided some simple top tips to provide sufferers with some much-needed Hay fever relief to help live their lives more comfortably while wearing a mask.
- Wear a face covering when it’s essential
For those who find face coverings particularly uncomfortable, it’s important to prioritise when you absolutely need to wear one. Wearing a covering for short periods when there is most risk is preferable to not wearing one at all. So, makes sure you wear a mask in high risk situations, including occasions when you’re close to others outside of your close family and on public transport.
- Practice wearing face coverings in a place where you feel comfortable
If face coverings make you anxious, you can get used to wearing one in a space where they’re not enforced, such as your home or an open space. This familiarity may help ease the stress when allergic reactions hit whilst wearing your mask.
- Choose a face covering that works for you
The material your face covering is made of can have a huge impact on how comfortable it is. If you can afford it, it’s worth experimenting with different types of masks to find what suits you. For example, some people prefer ties to elastic loops around their ears.
- Reposition your face covering until you’re happy with how it feels
For many of us, wearing face coverings will be a first-time experience, so it’s worth practising putting the mask on and adjusting it until you feel comfortable, such as positioning it so that it doesn’t rub against your ears.