For people that suffer from allergies, it is often difficult to avoid the things that trigger them. Dust, pollen, mold, and various other particles can fill the air outdoors and in the home. They are sometimes too small to see but can get in the lungs and cause health problems. An allergy mask can help block those particles from getting into the airways. Worn like a surgical mask, it can prevent the coughing and sneezing characteristic of an allergy attack and even help avoid bouts of asthma.
There are different types of such face masks, ranging from use in commercial and medical environments, to inside the home. Some of them can also protect against viruses and bacteria. With an allergy mask, a person can go outside without inhaling pollen or dust that he or she may be allergic to. Often designed to local or regional medical standards, these masks usually have micron-sized pores, so even microscopic particles are blocked from entering. Some masks may be used over and over, though others are designed for one-time use and disposal.
Comfort is an important consideration, even with a device as simple as an allergy mask. Features such as room inside for comfortable breathing, along with ear loops and elastic trims for physical comfort, are often things to look for. Athletes can use an allergy mask with a nose clip to keep it in place during sports activities. One variety has a ventilated design and filtration to let sports users perform at an optimal level while wearing the mask.
A basic allergy mask can just fit over the face and block particles. There are some masks that do more, such as ones with an exhalation valve to stop heat and moisture from building up. Others can filter out aerosol particles, smoke and smog, as well as chemicals and fumes. One type of allergy mask includes carbon filters that can be changed from time to time, but which block chemicals and odors from getting in the respiratory tract.
Workers can use an allergy mask when operating in polluted environments; people can also wear it when cleaning the house. Usually anyone can purchase the mask, either online or at a pharmacy. In addition to blocking man-made and biological pollutants, these face masks sometimes protect against cold air. Some of them can warm the air and even humidify it to make breathing more comfortable when it is cold outside.