There are generally two main strategies for dealing with allergies:
- Avoidance of the allergens
- Management of symptoms.
Surgical masks help you to avoid the allergen.
While not everyone's favorite fashion accessory, surgical masks allow you to be less exposed to allergens and reduces the amount which finds its way into your airways. If you have mold allergies and you need to clean the mold up, you should be wearing a surgical mask. If you have pet allergies and you need to give the family dog a bath, you should be wearing a surgical mask. In any case when you know that you will need to be exposed to airborne allergens, and you have the opportunity to be proactive before the event, the use of a surgical mask can be an option.
For instance, those with relatively serious dust allergies could consider using a surgical mask when they clean their home. Why? Dusting (especially dry dusting) can stir up dust as much as remove it. Sweeping definitely puts dust in the air. Even vacuuming can put dust in the air. Wearing a surgical mask reduces your exposure to allergens while you are cleaning.
In addition, wearing a surgical mask is a good way to prevent you from touching your nose or eyes with your hands. This keeps both allergens and germs away from your respiratory tract while you are wearing the surgical mask.
While you may not want to wear a surgical mask for your weekly housecleaning, definitely consider it for those times when you are doing a significant cleaning in a particularly dusty or dirty area. This could mean a workshop, basement or garage.
You do not have to be a medical professional in order to buy a surgical mask. In some cases, you can buy them at your local pharmacy. One thing to keep in mind: if you have latex allergies, some surgical masks can be a problem. Check to be sure that no latex is used around the edges of the mask in order to create a 'seal' with the face. If the mask does have latex in it, it should be disclosed on the container. If you are unsure, check with the pharmacist or get assistance in the store.