Ask the allergist is a regular feature in our newsletters where Dr. Julia Upton answers your questions!
Dr. Julia Upton is a Canadian allergist who is on staff at Toronto’s SickKids Hospital in the Immunology and Allergy Department. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Paediatrics at the University of Toronto and is the past Section Chair of Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis with the CSACI. Dr. Upton is also a member of our Healthcare Advisory Board.
Please note: Dr. Upton is answering as an individual allergist and her answers do not constitute an official position of her affiliated organizations. Her responses are for informational purposes only and do not constitute specific medical advice, recommendations, diagnosis, or treatment. Please talk to your doctor about any concerns or questions you may have regarding your own health or the health of your child.
This month she answers your question about tree nut allergy and burning wood in fireplaces.
I’ve heard that if you have an allergy to tree nuts, you need to be careful with the wood burned in your fireplace as it can trigger symptoms. Is this true?
The burning of regular wood in a fireplace would not be expected to pose a risk to people with tree nut allergy.
There may be some risk of aerosolized tree nut (nut protein getting into the air) with fire starters and fire logs. These types of logs are made of multiple materials and can contain sawdust, fibres, oils, seeds, and other ingredients which may include tree nut shells.
The allergic risk of burning a log containing tree nut shells in a well ventilated fireplace is unknown and likely low, however, some manufacturers have included an allergen alert on their product. You can check the product packaging or contact the manufacturer for this type of information. If you still have doubts about a product, the safe choice is to avoid using it.
Do you have a question you’d like to ask Dr. Upton in the months to come? If so, please send it along to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note: Dr. Upton answers questions on general topics, please talk to your doctor if you have questions about your own health or the health of your child.
Tags: ask the allergist, Ask the expert