Daily life is different right now — with COVID-19 still rampant in many cities across the U.S. As some areas start to get “back to a new normal,” others are experiencing an uptick in cases for the first time since the pandemic started.
The CDC has said from the start — and continues to say — that protective measures like social distancing, wearing masks in public, and avoiding large gatherings are the key to avoiding the spread of COVID-19. Are the protective measures safe for those with allergies and asthma? The answer is yes — with a few extra precautions.
Wear (and wash!) your mask
Studies have shown that wearing a mask can help prevent the spread of COVID-19, and mask wearing is safe for those with asthma. Though it may be uncomfortable, it’s one of the clearest ways to avoid the spread of the virus. A bonus — it may help you to inhale less pollen, too.
We often talk about washing your clothes in hot water after being outdoors so that pollen isn’t taken into your home — the same goes for your reusable masks. Not only does washing masks help remove potential COVID-19 droplets, it can remove pollen and reduce allergic reactions, too.
Check your gloves
Though not a recommendation from the CDC, some may choose to wear disposable gloves when using public transportation, when doing necessary shopping, or other public outings. Also, some occupations that didn’t previously require gloves may now make this a requirement.
Before putting on your gloves, be sure to read the label and identify if they contain latex. If you’re allergic, be sure to find an alternative. If you experience irritation from gloves but are not allergic, read on.
Watch for eczema
Wearing a mask or gloves, washing your hands more, and using hand sanitizer more than you’re used to can cause dryness, itching, or eczema flare ups. This blog from the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America gives great tips for avoiding eczema episodes, including:
- Pat dry your hands, don’t rub them
- Moisturize after hand washing
- Wear gloves when working with antiseptic cleaners
If your eczema or irritation becomes severe, contact your doctor, as a prescription may be required.
Double-check your food order
Before COVID-19, people with severe food allergies were already taking extra precautions to make sure their food was safe when dining out. Being able to discuss their food allergy with a server or chef before ordering and after serving could help ensure that their food is safe to eat. In a time where enjoying restaurant food means taking meals to-go or getting them delivered, it can be even more stressful.
If you choose to order from a restaurant, consider calling the restaurant and speaking to a manager to discuss your unique situation and guarantee that your food will arrive safely. Consider curbside pickup, if available, so that you know no cross-contact occurs after it leaves the restaurant.
Treat the cause of allergy and asthma
Though more research is required, those with allergy and asthma aren’t at a greater risk for contracting COVID-19. But, if someone with asthma contracts it, there may be a higher risk of getting very sick. Keeping your respiratory health at its best is critical, especially when viruses are present. If you’re looking for an allergy and asthma treatment that is safely taken at home, consider sublingual immunotherapy. You can find a provider near you that can help you determine if this treatment is right for you.