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Allergic to wood burning smoke


Posted by Amy

I am very allergic to wood burning smoke. Every time neighbors (not just one) start burning logs, I cough, choke, wheeze, lose voice, chest pain, head ache, everything.

I try to seal my windows and put air filters, but still not 100%.  

Does anyone have idea what to do with this second-hand exposure? 

Is there allergy shot for wood burning smoke?  Is there anything else I can do? 

Does anyone know any patient advocacy to regulate the usage of fire logs?  

Or is it only me who suffers?

 
Answers (1)
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First of all, you're not alone.  Quit wasting money trying to seal your home, it won't work.  Even the most well-sealed home is still invaded by wood smoke.  Actual wood smoke allergies are VERY rare.  There are a couple things responsible for your symptoms...first-The smoke itself is an irritant.  It contains tiny particles which, because of their size and shape, actually embed themselves in your lungs.  The symptoms you're experiencing are very common from wood smoke exposure.  The second reason is the chemicals from the smoke...carbon monoxide, benzene, toluene, formaldehyde...just to name a few.  The particles can sometimes be stopped by HEPA filters, but the chemicals cannot.  The third reason you could be feeling sick is any allergen IN the wood...pollen, mold, etc.  These would be released into the air when the would is burned, and cause a reaction.

Second-hand wood smoke exposure is FAR more dangerous than tobacco smoke (about 12 times more dangerous).  The EPA has very few regulations in effect, and local regulations vary by location.  Some areas have bans based on time of year, current amount of pollution, burning device, etc.  You can check your local regulations to see if any wood burning regulations are in effect.  There may also be "nuisance" laws for your local area.  Most nuisance laws apply to smoke as a health hazard, but it is difficult to get enforcement of them. 

For more information, check out burningissues.org  They have TONS of information!
NOTICE: The information provided on this site is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your physician or other qualified health provider because of something you have read on Wellsphere. If you have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.
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