Do Fireplaces Cause Allergies
Fireplaces are a hidden treasure, a rare luxury that not many homeowners get to appreciate. The warmth and comfort they provide in the winter months are impossible to replicate, even though gas fireplaces and heating systems have done their best.
Theres a lot of enjoyment to take from them. However, fireplaces arent nearly as pleasing if they make you sneeze, cause a running nose, or dry eyes. Is your fireplace causing allergies?
Operating A Wood Burning Stove
We now kick off our wood-burning stove tips and tricks by talking about how to actually operate one. This process shouldnt be overlooked as there is actually a proper way to light your fire at home. It doesnt matter whether you are using a wood-burning stove for the first time, you have to learn to do it right straight from the start.
You know what they say If theres smoke then theres fire. Well, it actually should say theres a badly started fire because if you do it properly there will be no smoke coming from your chimney. We will talk about that more below as it is directly related to maintenance but let it sink in for now.
So here we will go through the 6 main steps which will show you how to operate a wood-burning stove correctly. You will also see a number of other useful wood-burning stove facts.
Wood Burning Stoves And Indoor Air Quality
As Jack Frost begins to nip at noses, many people use wood burning stoves to either entirely heat their homes or supplement their central heating. Warm feelings from cuddling up near a wood burning stove seem like a wonderful way to spend the winter, but it can be very difficult for our lungs, especially for those who already have breathing issues, like children and the elderly. Learn about the correlation between wood burning stoves and indoor air quality below.
There are two main issues that wood burning stoves cause. The first is poor air quality and the second is very dry air. The air quality in your home will be the best if you use both air purifiers and humidifiers.
The particles that wood burning stoves give out are as toxic as those given off by cars or cigarettes. The chemicals in wood smoke have been linked to: cancer, asthma, heart and lung disease, and more. If you use a wood burning stove in your home, a good air purifier can significantly reduce the danger. It will reduce both the short term effects such as coughing and congestion as well as the long term health effects.
Most air purifiers work per room so you may want to use one in the main room with the stove and in bedrooms as well. Some good air purifiers for particle, smoke, and chemical removal are:
Some effective humidifiers are:
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Who Is At Risk From Wood Smoke
Using a portable air cleaner and/or upgrading the air filter in your furnace or central heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning system can help to improve indoor air quality. Learn more.
- If you have heart or lung disease, such as congestive heart failure, angina, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema or asthma, you may experience health effects earlier and at lower smoke levels than healthy people.
- Older adults are more likely to be affected by smoke, possibly because they are more likely to have chronic heart or lung diseases than younger people.
- Children also are more susceptible to smoke for several reasons:
- their respiratory systems are still developing,
- they breathe more air per pound of body weight than adults, and
- they are more likely to be active outdoors.
The No 1 Culprit: Cigarette Smoke
Nearly 5,000 toxins make tobacco smoke the most toxic indoor pollutant. The greatest percentage of lung cancers is caused by cigarette smoke. Even secondhand smoke raises your risk of cancer, heart attack, and stroke.
“Children whose parents smoke have higher rates of asthma,” Pacheco tells WebMD. In fact, smoking causes pneumonia, bronchitis, wheezing, coughing, excess phlegm, and ear infections in young children. In the past 15 years, the number of children with asthma has more than doubled – largely due to tobacco smoke exposure in the home.
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Allergens To Watch Out For This Winter
Many people believe that as the spring and fall seasons wrap, so do their allergies. But the truth is that they are mistaken. While the onslaught of colder weather and freezing temperatures brings an end to seasonal pollen allergies, it doesn’t mean that your environment is free of allergens.
Especially in New York City, winter means that more people are staying indoors to avoid the cold. What many people may not know is that they can be exposed to indoor allergens that are lurking within their home. And, with the holidays around the corner, there are a few common triggers such as Christmas trees or fireplaces that can contribute to those unwanted allergens.
Add to this the fact that winter allergies and the common cold have many similar symptoms and you have the makings of one unpleasant season if you’re an allergy sufferer. But don’t worry! Here are a few tips on what allergens people with allergies should be mindful of this winter.
Dust & Dust mites What: Microscopic, allergy symptom-inducing dust mites lurk in bedding, mattresses, carpets, and upholstered furniture.
Tip: Use dust-proof covers on mattresses, box springs, and pillows to avoid exposure and regularly wash bed linens in hot water to kill dust mites. Vacuum all carpeted areas at least twice a week and install HEPA filters to improve air quality and consider using a dehumidifier to keep humidity in the home below 50 percent, which helps to control dust mites.
Maintenance Of Wood Stoves
Even the most efficient burning wood stove will have a hard time functioning properly if maintenance is overlooked or plain bad. Poor maintenance also bears a number of fire hazards and this is why no corners should be cut and no aspects should be overlooked when cleaning your wood-burning stove.
Below we will describe the two main reasons why extensive care for your wood stove is imperative. We will start with effectiveness and then will move on to safety. You need to be ready to fully devote to the preservation of your stove if you are going to buy one.
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Use The Right Kind Of Wood
The kind of wood you burn can significantly affect how much pollution it emits. That’s why you should only use clean, dry, hard woods in your wood-burning stove at home.
Dry wood is important because it produces less smoke and burns more evenly. All firewood should be properly dried out for at least 6 months before use.
Wet or green wood creates less heat and may even pose a danger of exploding inside your stove. You can tell if your wood is too wet if it crackles and pops excessively as it burns.
It’s also important to use wood that comes from hardwood trees instead of softwood trees. Hard woods burn longer and more evenly, while soft woods burn too quickly and create larger amounts of smoke.
Finally, you should never burn any treated woods like pallet wood, plywood, construction scraps, or pressure-treated lumber. These types of wood are likely to contain chemical additives and residues that produce extremely toxic fumes when burned.
Here are some of the best types of wood to use for firewood:
- Oak wood
The hotter your fire burns, the less pollution it creates. That’s because a lower heat or smoldering fire causes incomplete combustion, which produces higher amounts of harmful gases and particles.
If your fire burns very hot, it is more likely to achieve complete combustion. This results in less indoor air pollution and a lower risk of experiencing negative health effects from burning wood.
Wood Stoves And Allergies
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Allergies And Asthma With Pellet Stoves
Many people with asthma and allergies have shied away from traditional wood burning fireplaces, as the smoky smell, potential for ash, and other undesirable aspects of open, burning fire push them toward alternative forms of heat. The welcome glow and dance of a fire is something that has long been associated with soothing ambiance and cozy atmosphere in living space, but something asthma and allergy suffers might be unnecessarily doing without. Heating with a pellet stove is a great alternative for people with asthma and allergies to enjoy the positive aspects of a fire without it being a health hazard.
A pellet stove is much different than a wood burning fireplace or stove, and heres how. The MagnuM brand family of pellet stoves and flex-fuel burning appliances designed today feature closed combustion. This is a negative draft system , a sealed venting system and a direct connect to outside fresh combustion air. These design features separate the smell and corresponding allergy dusts from the interior of the home.
Why Wood Smoke Is So Bad For You
Wood smoke and COPD have one main thing in common: they both cause irreparable damage to your lungs over time. Wood smoke is also a serious respiratory irritant that can exacerbate the symptoms of COPD and other respiratory diseases.
Wood smoke is dangerous for two main reasons: First, it releases dangerous amounts of tiny particles that get trapped in your lungs when you breathe them in. Second, it emits a variety of toxic gases that can damage your lungs and impair your ability to breathe.
These toxic substances can trigger serious immediate symptoms as well as long-term heart and respiratory problems. That’s why many health and advocacy organizations strongly warn against the practice of using wood to heat your home.
According to the Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, wood smoke is uniquely toxic among all sources of urban air pollution. This is in part because particle pollution from wood smoke is extraordinarily small and has the ability to causes prolonged damage to your body’s cells.
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Wood Allergies And Toxicity
Not to omit any one of them, the yew is similar to these other trees in general appearance . . . It is an ascertained fact that travellers vessels, made in Gaul of this wood, for the purpose of holding wine, have caused the death of those who used them.
Pliny the Elder, from Naturalis Historia, ca. 77 AD
Looking at the above quotation, , ought to bringat the very leasta small bit of respect and attention to the matter of safety as it pertains to wood toxicity. If this subject has been known and reported as ascertained fact since ancient history, how much more ought we to take heed in modern times, considering that we have so many more well-developed means of communication and testing?
Find Alternatives To Wood
To reduce indoor and outdoor pollution from wood-burning devices, switch to cleaner devices such as natural gas stoves and heaters, and make sure they are fully vented to the outdoors. If you are unable to switch, use pellets and dry wood for a cleaner and more efficient burn. You can also buy a cleaner wood-burning device. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency adopted new standards for cleaner and more energy efficient wood-burning devices in 2015. Many devices currently meet the 2020 standards and have hangtags showing this certification.
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Can A Fireplace Cause Allergies
- Can a Fireplace Cause Allergies?
Nothing compares to the soft warmth of a wood fireplace. Sitting in front of it comforts you and gives you a feeling of well-being. But what about your red and itchy eyes, runny nose and sneezing? Could it be that your fireplace is causing your allergies? In this article, youll find explanations concerning these allergies, as well as various ways you can remedy to it.
The Following Is A List Of Factors That Predispose People To Nosebleeds:
Among the most recommended solutions for recurrent nose bleeding is home humidification using a whole house furnace humidifier. It is generally recommended that you consider a whole house furnace humidifier as opposed to small room humidifiers since the effects of dry air in the home can cause nosebleeds throughout the day, not just while you are sleeping. In addition to moisturizing your nasal passages, a quality whole house furnace humidifier requires less maintenance, promotes healthier air quality , and prevents damage to your hardwood floors and furniture caused by low humidity.
The following are a number of other suggestions from various health-related organizations and physicians that, when combined with proper home humidification, should reduce the incidence of nose bleeds in your family:
If you think your nose bleeds may be caused by allergies, please visit our sister site for information on the world’s highest rated HEPA air cleaner, the Austin Heathmate Series.
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Wood Toxicity And Allergen Chart
Below youll find a chart of various wood species, along with their reported effects and properties. The information on this chart has been compiled from many sources, with references given at the bottom. When viewing the chart, please keep the follow in mind:
Just because any given wood is not listed on the chart, does not mean that it is completely safe to use. It simply means that adverse reactions have not been reported as of yet. One helpful thing to do if you have confirmed that youre allergic to a specific species of wood, is to check for related species . Many times, a wood in a particular genus will share similar allergic compounds with other related woods, resulting in cross-reactions.) For example, Cocobolo is in the Dalbergia genus, and is also closely related to other woods such as Kingwood, Tulipwood, Honduran Rosewood, etc. Also, you may notice two wood types that sound like theyre related, such as Black Cherry and Brazilian Cherry , but they are actually quite unrelated.
All inhaled wood dust is hazardous to your long-term health. This chart simply lists specific woods that can aggravate symptoms through allergic reactions, or woods that are outright toxic in and of themselves. However, all woods produce fine dust when worked, which in turn can damage your lungs and cause a number of other adverse health reactions.
Invisible Risks: Bacteria Molds Viruses And Radon
A humidifier with stagnant water, wet carpeting, and water-damaged walls – these are all breeding ground for bacteria, mold, and viruses. Anyone with asthma, allergies, or a hypersensitive reaction can be affected by these water-related problems, resulting in worse asthma attacks.
In fact, you can develop a mold allergy, which can lead to chronic sinusitis or asthma, says Pacheco. “If you have a water-damaged area, you need to fix it. If carpet has been completely soaked, you need to replace it. Regularly clean your humidifier, or you will release bacteria into the air whenever you use it.”
Ventilating your attic and crawl space – and keeping humidity levels below 50% — can help prevent moisture buildup in walls. Take steps to prevent water from leaking into a home.
Radon is a gas that exists in soil or rock containing uranium. The gas can infiltrate basements and crawl spaces of homes built on these deposits. Without a specific testing device, it’s difficult to tell whether a home has a radon problem. This radioactive gas leaves no telltale signs it is colorless and odorless. But exposure to radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer.
“Typically it’s a ventilation issue,” says Pacheco. “Improve the ventilation, and you’ve solved the problem. It’s a very fixable problem.”
Here are three other key risks you may not be aware of:
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What Is Wood Smoke
Each year, about 3,000 people die in residential fires in the U.S. mainly from smoke inhalation. A properly installed and maintained smoke alarm is one of the best and cheapest ways to be warned early of a potentially deadly fire.
Smoke forms when wood or other organic matter burns. The smoke from wood burning is made up of a complex mixture of gases and fine particles . In addition to particle pollution, wood smoke contains several toxic air pollutants including The following links exit the site
The more efficiently you burn wood the less smoke is created.
Spring Vs Fall Allergies
While the symptoms of spring and fall allergies can be similar, such as persistent runny nose, sneezing, and itchy or watery eyes, the triggers vary.
During spring months , tree and grass pollination are main triggers. During the fall months , triggers include weeds and outdoor molds, with ragweed being the most common.
Dr. Kasey Strothman, pediatric allergist and immunologist at Nationwide Childrens Hospital, says during the fall months, other environmental factors can worsen symptoms.
For example, while warmer temperatures are often welcomed, the lingering humidity, windy conditions, and dry air can all increase the release of mold spores. Outdoor activities such as raking leaves can also be problematic for those with pollen and mold allergy, as raking can stir up spores and cause their release into the air, Strothman told Healthline.
However, treatment for spring and fall allergies are similar, and include avoiding triggers as much as possible.
Avoidance measures are multiple and include monitoring pollen or mold counts, avoiding the outdoors during peak times of day, keeping windows and doors shut at home, and showering or changing clothes after being outdoors, Strothman said.
Medications are similar, too, and consist of over-the-counter nasal steroids like Flonase and Nasacort, and eye drops like ketotifen, says Dr. Ronald Saff, clinical assistant professor of medicine at Florida State University College of Medicine.
Symptoms of smoke irritation
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