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Can wood smoke cause an allergic reaction?

AAFA's "Ask the Allergist" is a free service provided by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). Our allergist will answer your questions about asthma and allergies. We provide only general advice about managing asthma or allergies, medicines and treatments. "Ask the Allergist" does not answer questions about specific consumer products. This information is not a substitute for medical advice from your physician. Always talk with your doctor before changing your asthma or allergy management plan.

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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 D.O. FAAAAI, FACAAI

Reviewed and Answered

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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
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