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Ask the Allergist

Can wood smoke cause an allergic reaction?

I have a peanut allergy. When using a meat smoker, would pecan wood smoke cause a reaction?

Wood from a pecan tree does not contain pecan nut food protein. In addition, pecan is a tree nut and is not related to peanut, which is a legume.

Allergy, Food Allergy, Peanut Allergy, Tree Pollen Allergy
Answered by

Douglas T. Johnston, DO, FAAAAI, FACAAI, is an allergist/clinical immunologist at Carolina Asthma & Allergy Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Assistant Professor at Edward Via School of Osteopathic Medicine in Spartanburg, South Carolina. He is a fellow of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI) and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI). He has lectured at national and international medical conferences and has publications in several medical journals, including “Clinical Immunology,” “World Allergy Organization Journal,” “Journal of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology,” “The Journal of the American Medical Association,” and the “New England Journal of Medicine.”

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@Arle posted:

I was wondering about woodsmoke in general. If an asthmatic is in the vicinity of a campfire or bonfire or even inside a home with a fireplace in use?


inhaling wood smoke is not good for anyone's lungs. Regarding whether or not wood smoke is worse than the smoke produced from other things that you could burn (e.g. paper, plastic, leaves, etc.) --the answer depends.

Whenever you burn something, byproducts are created.

Burnt wood results in things like water, carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2), sulfur oxides (SOx), and nitrogen oxides (NOx).

Burnt plastics release things like hydrochloric acid, SOx, dioxins, furans, and heavy metals (e.g. mercury).

Breathing in any of these gases, chemicals, etc is typically harmful to the human body. If any of these byproducts were inhaled in excess would likely result in serious health problems.

Last edited by JR

Welcome, @Arle! It's good to have you here.Yes, smoke of any kind is part of What Causes or Triggers Asthma?  Every year, wildfire season is an ordeal for members in AAFA. Closer to your question is a topic does wood smoke from backyard fire pits bother you too?

I hope we can give you good answers and you'll join in the discussions at the Asthma Support forum.

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