Can You Get a Sore Throat From Wearing a Dirty Mask?

KEY POINTS 

  • A dirty mask can cause a sore throat.
  • Allergy sufferers and those who use their voices often may be especially prone to Sore Throat .
  • Some people have reported getting Sore Throat .after wearing their masks for longer periods of time

Despite being an effective tool in slowing the spread of COVID-19, face masks can’t seem to catch a break these days.

They fog up our glasses.

They cause some of us to break out.

They can be a source of anxiety.

Or they simply cause arguments among those who don’t like being told what to do.

And now, there’s one more thing to add to the list — sore throats. Some people have reported getting them after wearing their masks for longer periods of time — and not cleaning them. So, if you’ve been leaving that one mask in the car, wearing it over and over again and wondering why you keep getting a sore throat, keep reading to learn how to clean up your routine.

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We know that we need to wash our hands regularly and clean high-touch surfaces and our living spaces thoroughly. So, it’s not totally surprising that a dirty mask can cause a sore throat. But it’s not the only thing. Medicine physician Neha Vyas, explained why sore throats occur and how a germy mask and a few other variables can lead to them.

What causes a sore throat and do certain people get them more often?
“Sore throats can be caused by viruses, bacteria or environmental irritants. They could also be caused by vocal strain (using your voice too much), dry air, or a condition called gastroesophageal reflux, or GERD,” explains Dr. Vyas. She adds that anyone can get sore throats, but people with weakened immune systems, allergy sufferers and those who use their voices often may be especially prone to them.

READ MORE:

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Why might we get a sore throat after wearing a mask for a long time?
“Mask wearers often have to speak louder for others to hear. This may cause vocal strain,” says Dr. Vyas. “Other times, it may be from viruses or germs residing in unwashed or unclean masks, either from using them frequently without washing them or taking them on and off with unclean hands.” According to Dr. Vyas, dirty masks definitely make things worse because when you wear one, you end up breathing in bacteria or viruses that might be trapped in the mask.

While wearing a mask might be perceived to be a hassle by some people, it’s important to continue to do so to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other germs.

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