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using masks to help with asthma

I have seen several of you mention that you use masks to help with asthma, avoiding triggers, etc.  What do you use and where do you get it?  Do you find it really helps?  What kind of reactions do you get when you wear it out and about?

@Nemo88 - tell us more about your mask

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Comments 139

  • Jen

    Gigi – Is there one of the patterns you find yourself using more than the others?

  • GigiGibson

    I usually grab the dark print based ones because I wear make up and the print hides spots too. I wear a cheap light blue disposable one under it

  • GigiGibson

    The world is a dangerous place. Everyone one is loving my look this afternoon while windex lady tries to kill me. 

  • K8sMom2002

    You're rockin' that mask, Gigi! 

    Is there ANY way that we can convince the Windex Lady to step away her spray bottle?

  • tlb2002

    I'm late to this thread but I love the idea of washable masks! I sometimes use the cheap disposable masks you find at hardware stores but they make me break out in a rash. I'm might have to look into these. 

     

    Tanya

  • Kathy P

    Oh yikes Tanya! Breaking out in a rash would be bad! Do you mean like the 3M ones? I've been using those when I do housecleaning.

  • K8sMom2002

    Tanya, bummer on the rash! Do you think it could a latex allergy? I can't remember if there's any gripper-strips on those masks, but it could be. 

  • tlb2002

    I don't seem to react to the 3M ones as much, but I have reacted to most brands. I wondered about the latex too. I don't seem to react directly to latex, but I am ana. to mango, kiwi and I suspect avocado. I just started avoiding latex to be safe. 

  • K8sMom2002

    Wow … yeah, being ANA to mango, kiwi and possibly avocado would definitely raise my suspicions about latex. Have you been tested for a latex allergy? 

  • tlb2002

    I'm not completely sure. We moved almost two years ago and my former allergist didn't seem concerned about latex. I don't always react to latex. I know he did a blood test for the foods and they were all negative. I don't believe my new allergist tested for it but he does want me to avoid it. I'll have to ask him about it testing for it when I see him again.

  • Kathy P

    There are different types of latex and some are more allergenic that others. The American Latex Allergy Association has some good resources - 

  • tlb2002

    Thanks, Kathy. That's helpful. I have to admit that I need to be more deliberate about avoiding latex. I've gotten into a groove of managing all our other allergies that I forget about latex, especially since I don't seem to react to it (that I've noticed, at least). I need to get with the program!

    Also, the 3M dust masks I have are supposed to be latex free. I don't recall them causing me to break out in a rash. Maybe it's just the off-brand ones. It's hard to tell. My skin is so sensitive.

  • K8sMom2002

    I would talk with your new allergist about testing and share with the doctor the info you got from Kathy's link above. 

  • Jen

    I know gigi has shared pictures of some of her masks.  Does anyone else have pictures of the masks they use?

  • JadesJourney

    Jade's new VogMasks have been a lifesaver.  Her most recent hospital admission was a hard reminder of how harsh the environmental allergies can be to a child who is also asthmatic.  Jade says "they help me breathe better so I can join my friends at school".  She is thankful for any opportunity to go outside and the VogMasks make that possible.  She is also such a great advocate for herself in sharing JadeSafe tips for staying healthy to those who ask!

  • Jen

    Welcome to our support forums!  Where do you get the Vog masks?

    What else do you do so that she can ?

  • Jen

    For those that use masks, how comfortable are they when the weather gets hot?  Are there some made of a lighter weight material?

  • GigiGibson

    When it's humid they are suffocating. Mine are cotton. It just gets so humid here I have to almost run to my destination in summer. Hot air or freezing air is a big trigger for me. At least in winter the mask helps! I don't have any good ideas except stay inside and get a car starter so it will be a cool entrance. I need to get hubby to get me one. 

  • Kathy P

    Here is me flying home last weekend using my gauzy scarf as a mask. It was getting a bit warm under there if I pulled it tight enough to be effective in filtering the odors.

    A post shared by AAFA Kathy P (@aafakathyp) on

  • K8sMom2002

    I know we've had some really, really hot and humid weather at least down here in the south, but I am wondering how folks are doing with their masks. Do they help you with being outside? Being around other sorts of triggers?

  • Pljohns

    The mask has helped some with outdoor smells but it's just too hot to wear.  It's hard to breath with it in a cool environment but out in the wonderful heat and humidity, forget it.

  • K8sMom2002

    That's a bummer, Lynn. What has helped you in its place? Do you think a lighter weight mask like Gigi sometimes wears would be a good compromise?

  • Jen

    @Pljohns Do you think there are any lightweight masks that might work for you?

  • Pljohns

    Most of the masks are designed to filter out allergens.  Since I'm not allergic to anything, that doesn't help.  I have to find one with carbon activated charcoal filters for smells. I haven't found any so far-either they don't handle smells or they leave gaps around your cheek bones so the smells get in anyway.  I'm going to look at a Vog one that Gloria uses but at least I have mine-even if it does look like a biker mask!

  • Jen

    Lynn – Did you check out the vog mask to see if it would work for you?

  • jtomotaki

    Hi everybody! I just joined this forum to search for recommendations on wearing masks and found this thread. I have a Vog mask and a Cambridge mask …. 

    At my allergist appointment yesterday, my doctor told me that I should wear mask *any time I leave the house* ….. I am 44 years old but I am just as self-conscious as I was the day I turned 12. I have definitely gotten weird looks the few times I have worn them in public. I work downtown and take public transportation, so it makes sense to wear one but …. the only advantage is I tend to get a seat to myself on the bus when I am wearing one! Nobody wants to sit by the strange woman in the mask!!

    How have you overcome the self-consciousness of wearing the mask?? I hate that I feel that way.

    Jenny

     

  • K8sMom2002

    Hi, Jenny and welcome!  

    I think for some of our members - @GigiGibson, @Pljohns, @Shea, and @Nemo88 –  they decided, "You know what, who cares about weird looks, the mask really helps." But that's still a hurdle they had to overcome. They had to wear the mask to see how well it helped them first … and that meant they had to go through exactly what you're going through.

    I think in America, masks send the message of "I'm sick," and they also cut off from view a large section of the face — people really feel a bit uneasy when they can't see your full expression.

    So could you … 

    • wear a tag or a button or a sticker that says, "I'm not sick. I have asthma and I need to protect myself from germs and other triggers" or something like that?
    • buy cute masks with fun prints like @GigiGibson does?
    • practice wearing the masks with friends?

    Hugs on the self-consciousness … we completely understand, and for us, you're not the strange woman in the mask … you're just one of us!

  • GigiGibson

    Hi Jenny, 

    i have little kids ask and love it. I tell them I am on medication that makes my body less able to fight germs and asthma that is sensitive to scents. I really like ppl giving me space! Keeps me safe. When I am weak and have to use the buggy when I add the mask ppl assume I have cancer or something so they are nice. I have to wear it in the mall, ppl do look but I don’t care. I order mine on Etsy. Shuttermouth. Then I line it with a cheapo. Not as good quality as yours but I have holiday prints and I like that!

  • Nemo88

    Hi Jenny welcome!!! I hear ya on feeling self conscious about wearing a mask in public. I am 29 and a large stocky dude so when I wear my mask I guess I look intimidating and I hate that. Everything my good friend Gigi said is alot of what happens to me as well. Kids will ask you about the mask like it's no big deal and I explain it basically the same way Gigi does. I use an RZ mask which has HEPA grade active charcoal filters and 1way intake valve. So it already looks intimidating add that to me and I have had some rough altercations with individuals. Thankfully most people are more understanding than we give them credit. If someone is staring rudely at me I just say why yes I have an illness called asthma in my case it's severe and I wear this to protect my airways and compromised immune system from you usually makes them stop lol. I hope you will find your way and become more confident in wearing it. You need it to protect you and that's a #1 priority. Take care.

  • Jen

    Hi Jenny,

    Welcome to the AAFA forums.    I am glad that Nemo and Gigi chimed in.  Could you wear a fun scarf over the masks?  Sounds like Gigi has found some ways to make it fun  (well, as fun as it can be )

  • jtomotaki

    Thank you, @K8sMom2002 - do I recognize you from the kwfa boards? I think so.

    I was browsing through the prints on the etsy site you posted @GigiGibson. I like them!! Are they tolerable in warm weather? The ones I have are very hot to wear – perfect for winter months but unbearable in the summer. Have you noticed a significant improvement in your health?

    After wearing mine a few times, my dh kindly said "You need to get one that looks less scary." So I have ordered two colorful patterned ones now.

    And the thought of basically wearing one all the time?! 

    Jenny

  • Jen

    Jenny – I thought your username looked familiar. Glad to see you over here, too.

  • GigiGibson

    I’ll wear them in the summer in the mall or when I’m on. High pred but lord no I’d die outside

  • K8sMom2002

    Hi, @jtomotaki, yep, that's me! I hang out on both forums — great advice and support and encouragement on both. I started with KFA when my DD was diagnosed with corn allergy, but I never knew what a difference a community could make in my OWN asthma until I found these forums. 

    I'd never realized, for instance, that I needed a good sick plan. Or that my DD's and my asthma action plans needed to be written down. I first came on here right about the time I had a horrid bout of pneumonia that took me forever to get over. The tips and tricks I've learned from folks like @GigiGibson, @Nemo88, @Mandy, @Shea and @Pljohns have made a tremendous difference in my quality of life! 

  • Pljohns

    If smells bother anyone, the RZmasks from amazon with the carbon filters work really good!  I was able to work in a construction zone with the smell of paint, flooring glue, new plastic and gas fumes from the tools with no issues and smells are a HUGE trigger for me.  I have a sort of pretty plaid one, but it still looks like a biker mask.  I need to find one not as biker looking that I can try to brave up and wear at work when I need to.

  • RedCoog

    I've started to wear a N95 mask more often to to chores around the house and while at work. Frankly I've come to be ok wit the stares ppl give me, and I don't care. I rather feel better/healthier to do things with my loved ones than the perception of strangers.

    i find it funny that here in the US ppl look at you differently when you try to protect your self. But take a look at several Asian countries were the air quality is very low, they are pretty comfortable using masks!

    at the end of the day you must protect your self and your loved one!

    hope you guys are breathing well today! 

  • Shea

    I am going to retry some mask-wearing. I just ordered a Cambridge n99 mask with adjustable straps, for my weight and one for my son… I'm going to have us practice wearing them, and then carry them with us in case we get stuck in an enclosed location with a dog–which hopefully won't happen. I will wear mine for perfumy places or smoky as well.

  • RedCoog
    Shea posted:

    I am going to retry some mask-wearing. I just ordered a Cambridge n99 mask with adjustable straps, for my weight and one for my son… I'm going to have us practice wearing them, and then carry them with us in case we get stuck in an enclosed location with a dog–which hopefully won't happen. I will wear mine for perfumy places or smoky as well.

    @Shea,

    look into the mask ratings. I believe the N is for particle filtration, and the 99 is crazy good! If you guys are more sensitive to fumes and smoke there may be other masks out there. I think there are even some P rating on masks. 

  • jtomotaki

    @Shea Let me know how you like the Cambridge mask. I have one and it feels pretty comfortable to wear. It is a little thicker than the Vogmask but I think the two brands are really comparable as far as filtration levels.

  • K8sMom2002
    RedCoog posted:

    i find it funny that here in the US ppl look at you differently when you try to protect your self. But take a look at several Asian countries were the air quality is very low, they are pretty comfortable using masks!

    at the end of the day you must protect your self and your loved one!

    hope you guys are breathing well today! 

    RedCoog, so true! In China, for instance, the air quality can be so bad that people choose to wear masks. Plus, after the outbreak of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) in China in the early 2000s, I think people see it as an acceptable way to reduce the risk of other people's viral and bacterial infections. 

    It's all in context. Think about the person who faithfully wore a seat belt in the early 1980s before seat belt laws became so common: most people would have thought he was a bit overboard. Now it's more commonplace. 

    Ditto smoking laws — before public smoking bans took place, people could light up anywhere but at a hospital. I still remember thinking it was a huge improvement to go into a restaurant and being asked, "Smoking or non-smoking?" Now it's so nice not to have to ask at all!

  • Kathy P

    Ooh haven't heard of that brand. The look similar to the Vog masks. Are there features besides the adjustable straps that made you choose the Cambridge to try? 

  • Pljohns

    Shea-yes, definitely let us know about the Cambridge masks-I've looked at them but haven't purchased one.