Food Allergies and Face Masks
Hi everyone! As you all probably know, we should all be wearing face masks to stop the spread of the Coronavirus. But how do food allergies affect wearing a face mask?
*Please note that I strongly believe that we should all be wearing face masks! I just think that it is important to know how food allergies can affect wearing a face mask, and what precautions us with food allergies should take. Also keep in mind that I am not a doctor, and all of this information is for educational and not medical purposes. I and Food Allergic Teens are not liable for any advice taken or not taken.*
Back to face masks! The most important point in my opinion is...
1. Be careful where you set your face mask!
One day, I was eating lunch at school (socially distanced, of course!). I set my face mask on the table and went about eating my lunch. I didn't think much about it; until I saw that the person across from me was eating cashews near my mask, which I am highly allergic to. It hit me that if there was cashew dust in my mask, I would probably have an allergic reaction. I put my mask in my backpack immediately so that no cashew dust got on it.
This is definitely something to note when wearing a mask: be careful where you put it! If you are eating, set your mask in your bag, or just somewhere where food can't reach it.
2. Wash your face mask every day
This applies to everyone, even if you don't have food allergies. It's just gross to not wash your face mask at least every day you wear it. If you have food allergies and leave it overnight and then wear it again the next day, there's a change that food could've gotten in it overnight. Just wash your masks.
3. Don't share masks
You have no idea what someone else has eaten in a day. They could've eaten your allergen that day and then put their mask on again, which you would then be breathing in if you shared masks with them. This goes along with what I was saying in number 1.
4. Write your name in your masks
To make it easier to know which mask is yours, write your name in your masks.
5. Know that face masks can cover up symptoms of anaphylaxis
Because face masks cover your face, they can also cover up symptoms of anaphylaxis. However, anaphylaxis usually includes two or more symptoms, and the most severe symptom would be loss of airway. If you question if you are having anaphylaxis, remember: epi first, epi fast. Then call 911, or whatever the emergency number is in your country.
Since face masks are fairly new to us, it can be scary trying to figure out what to do with them and food allergies. I hope that this article helped you with masks and food allergies, and here is your friendly reminder to be safe and wear a mask! Hope you all help a great day!
The Itch Podcast, episode #33