Masks and sore throats/sinus issues?

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by Raven Sierra Raven Sierra, BSN, RN Member Nurse

Specializes in Emergency Department. Has 5 years experience.

Since we started wearing 1 surgical mask per shift and wearing sanitized N95s (reused and re-sanitized multiple times and not necessarily given back to the original owner), multiple staff members have noticed chronic low-grade sore throats and sinus congestion/irritation. Is anyone else experiencing this?



44 Posts

Surgical mask. I get congestion/sneezing. More days In a row I work my symptoms get worse.

My pcp says I’m having an allergy to mask. I take Claritin daily now.  Helped subside some of the symptoms. 

maire, ASN, RN

Specializes in Adult Med-Surg and Rehab. Has 17 years experience. 1,173 Posts

With the N95, yes to the sore throat.  It's super annoying.  Some days it's worse than others and I wonder, Rona, is that you?  Nope, just the mask.?


Specializes in clinic nurse. Has 7 years experience. 95 Posts

The Fall and coolish weather season combined with allergies is IMHO what's doing it. I do not get sore throats from the mask, but at the same time, I don't do what we've been told to do with our masks, which is leave them at work. I live close to work and wear it home, and hang it in a sunny place. There's always a rotation of 4-6 masks going so that I am sure to wait at least three days usually more between wearings. I'm not leaving my mask in a place that likely has had the virus (or a virus or bacteria) circulating at one time or another. I always try to remember that it's not just SARS CoV2 that can collect in the mask, it's just as likely to be a bacteria.



24 Posts

We wear those crappy surgical masks at work.  When I work 2-3 days in a row, I cough alot when I first get up then usually feel better.  Recently, the hospital switched to lower quality surgical masks and today my lungs and throat hurt.  I can't tell if I'm getting sick or it's the masks.