NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — About 25 million Americans suffer with seasonal allergies, but some are reporting they feel better now than they have in previous seasons.
Doctors think a COVID prevention measure could be behind the unexpected relief.READ MORE: Seasonal Allergies Or COVID-19? Doctor Says Being Indoors For A Year May Lead To ‘Terrible Allergies’
Ben and Cherie Rosen’s seasonal allergies are so severe, their plans often revolve around the daily pollen count.
“Eyes are very itchy, sometimes it’s even hard to breathe,” Cherie Rosen said.
“Sneezing, coughing, and I have allergic asthma as well,” Ben Rosen said.
But the couple told CBS News’ Femi Redwood they’ve noticed some changes this spring.
“It’s hard for me to speak sometimes just because the allergies are so bad, and I haven’t had any of that so far this year,” Cherie Rosen said.
Some studies suggest mask-wearing may be playing a role in alleviating allergy symptoms.
Israeli researchers looked at data on nurses who wore masks for two weeks.READ MORE: Survey: More Than 70% Of Dentists Seeing Increase In Patients Experiencing Teeth Grinding, Jaw Clenching During Pandemic
Forty percent with severe allergies reported less symptoms when they wore a mask, and 54% with mild allergies said they felt symptoms improved.
“It almost acts like a barrier between you and the pollen when you’re outside. It can even protect against indoor allergens if you wear a mask indoors while you’re working or what have you. Dust mites, mold,” said Dr. Purvi Parikh, an allergist and immunologist with the Allergy and Asthma Network.
Parikh says she tells patients to change clothes and shower to avoid bringing pollen into the house, so the same thing applies for masks.
“You don’t want to keep putting that same mask that might have pollen on it on your face every day,” she said. “You should be washing your mask frequently regardless.”
Ben and Cherie say even a little bit of relief is a good thing.
“I don’t know if the mask has contributed to it, but I know overall I feel like I’ve had much less allergy attacks than I’ve had in past years,” Cherie Rosen said.
The couple makes sure to take their medications and also gets allergy and asthma shots to help.MORE NEWS: How Can You Tell The Difference Between COVID And Spring Allergy Symptoms?
CBS News’ Femi Redwood contributed to this report.