chemo, sawdust, and allergic reactions

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by C Squared, Mar 8, 2013.

  1. C Squared

    C Squared Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,531
    Likes Received:
    3,407
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2008
    Just wondering, since we have a pretty vast group here on the forum and in this section especially. Has anyone else here encountered increased allergies and reactions when undergoing chemotherapy?

    Nine years ago some medical issues that popped up that called on (among other things) heavy dose of Chemo for 8 months. During that time my family decided to get me a golden retriever puppy (I hadn't had a dog for years, missed the companionship greatly) but couldn't keep him as one day in the house had me in hives and choking:shock: That my friends, sucked :noway: Never had ANY allergies prior to, Docs said it might just be a side effect from the chemo, happens to some people.

    Fast forward to present, again I find myself having to do chemo. Problem I'm having now is I can't be in my little workshop for 10 minutes without wanting to claw my eyes out. Started about 2 weeks ago and has gotten progressively worse, FAST.:Ohno:

    I've scanned through this

    Wood Allergies and Toxicity | The Wood Database

    and it would appear that just about every wood I've been using could be the possible culprit:laugh2: :wtf:

    Anyone on here have to deal with Chemo or just horrible allergies in general and found themselves having to stay away from certain woods?

    I Have a few projects in the works right now and I'm currently using

    Maple
    Ash
    Poplar
    Basswood
    Oak
    Indian Rosewood
    Katalox
    African Mahogany
    Honduran Mahogany
    Spanish Cedar
    Sapele

    Any help here would be most appreciated.
     
  2. j.six

    j.six Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,241
    Likes Received:
    1,716
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2008
    First: I hope all goes well and wish you good health.
    Second: Have you tried working with a paint respirator on? Turns out that I'm allergic to dust, so I'm often wearing my paint respirator when kicking up dust. It might help ya.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. evolved_insanity

    evolved_insanity Senior Member

    Messages:
    631
    Likes Received:
    180
    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2011
    I can't say I know exactly what you are going through but as far as the allergies go, there are full face masks with air pumps attached to them with filters inside. They would cover your whole face. If you also wear a hat and long sleeves as well as gloves, you should be ok but be very cautious. Severe wood allergies are no joke. I've seen whole manufacturing plants in the hospital with allergic reactions. Good luck with your chemo and stay strong.

    BTW, on your list, Maple is a severe allergen as far as domestic wood is concerned. You should also be careful of the EI Rosewood, Katalox, Sapele and Spanish Cedar.
     
  4. C Squared

    C Squared Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,531
    Likes Received:
    3,407
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2008
    Thanks man:thumb:

    I have switched to having the mask (respirator) on at all times since about a week ago, doesn't seem to be helping.

    I have two large air filters going at all times on low, crank them up a notch if I'm sawing/sanding/routing/planing.
     
  5. Murkar

    Murkar Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,753
    Likes Received:
    860
    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2010
    Sorry to hear you're having to undergo chemo at all, that's not a nice thing :( And I also wish you well with your health, and hope that all turns out alright :)

    With regards to the allergy thing...my best friend has stage 4 lung cancer. She's undergoing treatment - she has quite a bad rash and (if I'm not mistaken) finds that she's allergic to a lot of things now because of the treatment. So I wouldn't be surprised at all if that's what it is. As others have said, masking up is a good idea for sure :) I'm very allergic to Cocobolo, Pau Ferro, and Spanish Cedar (to a slightly lesser degree), and it's really unpleasant to work with things that you are allergic to. I found that when working with cocobolo, the mask wasn't enough. I ended up buying one of those sets of safety goggles that have the lip all the way around, to keep the sawdust away from my eyes. Otherwise it's awful. When finished a job, I come straight in and have a shower lol

    Are you suddenly allergic to all of the woods you're working with now, or just a few?
     
  6. C Squared

    C Squared Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,531
    Likes Received:
    3,407
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2008
    Thanks man

    Right now I'm using a half face Respirator, think its a 3m 5000 (same a friend of mine uses at an auto body shop)
     
  7. evolved_insanity

    evolved_insanity Senior Member

    Messages:
    631
    Likes Received:
    180
    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2011
    ANY skin contact would cause you to have a reaction also. Not just inhaling the dust.
     
  8. C Squared

    C Squared Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,531
    Likes Received:
    3,407
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2008
    Thanks man. Sorry to hear about your friend, lung cancer's a tough battle, hope she's doing well.

    I'm not sure which wood(s) might be causing it. When I get into the shop after work I tend to spend X amount of time on each of the projects, then dump the outer layer of clothes into a bag (Do NOT drag sawdust all over this house!!!!:wow::laugh2: ) but because I tend to ignore whatever is bothering me while I'm working (or maybe I'm just an idiot, or both) I'm not sure what's triggering it. Right now there is probably a little bit of dust from all those woods lingering in corners and crevices, and being Winter in the Northeast US not the ideal time to just open the doors for a day
     
  9. C Squared

    C Squared Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,531
    Likes Received:
    3,407
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2008
    :wow::wow:

    :wow::wow::wow::wow:

    Well that's not good :(
     
  10. Ken McKay

    Ken McKay Senior Member

    Messages:
    431
    Likes Received:
    199
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2010
    chemotherapy can shift your sensitivity into hypersensitivity. In other words things that did not bother you before might start to cause a reaction. It would be best to avoid wood dust as much as possible until you are done with this round. Then gradually get back into a little sanding.
     
  11. C Squared

    C Squared Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,531
    Likes Received:
    3,407
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2008
    Sounding like I might not have a choice, but I have at least one I have to finish by May (promised as a graduation gift) and at least one other I would like to finish to help with the bills :(

    This is really going to suck :noway:
     
  12. BWGuitars

    BWGuitars Senior Member

    Messages:
    527
    Likes Received:
    1,064
    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2012
    I have no experience with chemo (outside of it sounding awful... I feel for you, man), but katalox and I do NOT get along.
     
  13. C Squared

    C Squared Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,531
    Likes Received:
    3,407
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2008
    Of everything I'm using (wood wise) that's actually the one I suspect the least, just cause I don't have to sand it or shape it as much as the body and core woods. But at this point who knows.

    Would you mind sharing some specifics? Rash? Eyes? Choking?

    I've used it a few times now and I really do like it as a fingerboard wood. I actually have a book matched top of this stuff set aside but Haven't tried to use it yet as a) a hear it doesn't always like to play nice with glue and b) it is ROUGH on router bits:shock:
     
  14. pinefd

    pinefd V.I.P. Member V.I.P. Member

    Messages:
    8,981
    Likes Received:
    12,888
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2007
    I hope all goes well with the chemo, and your health.

    While I have absolutely no experience with chemo, and the type of allergic reactions you're experiencing (fortunately...knock on non-toxic wood), I do have a suggestion. If you could somehow isolate the various types of wood you're working with, and test each, one-at-a-time, you may be able to determine those you should stay away from. For this, I suggest maybe taking a small piece of each wood (again, one-at-a-time) into another part of the house...like a bathroom. Close the door, and begin some light sanding. See how, and if you react to that specific wood. Then try all the others. You may be able to figure out which give you the most severe reactions, and which are safe to work with.

    Best of luck!


    Frank
     
    1 person likes this.
  15. Jmorris

    Jmorris Senior Member

    Messages:
    640
    Likes Received:
    138
    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2012
    God bless you and may better days find you. You could do your own little allergy test to see if it is a specific wood causing the reaction. Just apply a little dust from a single species to your forearm and wait. You may see a slight rash, or not. Just a suggestion. I had to do an allergy test a few years back because my work boots were making my feet and ankles break out in a super painful rash. They literally tested me with every component used in a typical boot. Turns out it was the chromium in the leather. Luckily that allergy eventually went away.
     
  16. BWGuitars

    BWGuitars Senior Member

    Messages:
    527
    Likes Received:
    1,064
    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2012
    It may just be me, but both katalox and wamara smell and work very similarly, and both mess with my sinuses/throat/chest. If I cut or plane a piece of either I'm instantly sneezing and getting congested.
     
  17. C Squared

    C Squared Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,531
    Likes Received:
    3,407
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2008
    Thanks man, and great idea:thumb:
     
  18. C Squared

    C Squared Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,531
    Likes Received:
    3,407
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2008
    Thanks man. Yeah I'm going to have to just take a little bit of each and see if I can isolate it to (hopefully) 1 or 2 of the woods I'm using
     
  19. C Squared

    C Squared Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,531
    Likes Received:
    3,407
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2008

    :shock: That sucks man. Guessing after that you never tried working with Coco Bolo?

    Haven't had anything with sneezes thus far, it's mostly been an itchy eye thing or an eye wheezing combo :(
     
  20. BBBBill

    BBBBill Senior Member

    Messages:
    146
    Likes Received:
    52
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2012
    Perhaps wear a Tyvek coverall with hood to compliment the respirator. And gloves, too.
     

Share This Page