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During the festive holidays, we usually buy candles fragranced with pumpkin spice, pine tree, or even apple cinnamon. Scented candles are one of the easiest ways to decorate and create an atmosphere for the holidays. However, scented candles are not always a good thing, especially for people with asthma. The scented candles can be so fragrant that they can trigger asthma attacks in asthmatics. Additionally, some candles can emit harmful substances, such as benzene and toluene, that are dangerous pollutants and not only trigger asthma attacks but can also damage the brain, lung and central nervous system as well. Burning candles can also contribute to indoor air pollution inside your home.
The aroma from scented candles can be from essential oils or plant extracts or from fragrant chemicals. Essential oils are made from trees, shrubs, and flowers and each one has its own unique make up. Fragrant chemicals are mostly made from petroleum and animal sources. Candle manufacturers can also combine artificial fragrances with essential oils to create scents. Many synthetic fragrances have chemicals that can have immediate and or long-term health effects. It is important to always read the labels carefully before buying the candle. Sometimes product descriptions can lead the buyer to think they are buying healthy, aromatherapy candles, but in reality the candle is primarily synthetic and petroleum based. It is best to avoid aromatic candles as an asthmatic to reduce chances of an asthma attack.
If you, a member or your family, or friends who have asthma are over for the holidays, be mindful that scented candles can trigger an asthma attack. Here are some tips to help you. If you must use candles, there are a few options you can consider to help your chances of experiencing an asthma attack. You can simply opt to use battery powered candle lights to help set the mood for your holidays. This will avoid any smoke or burning of unwanted chemicals that can be released into your home. Though using the candle lights will not have any fragrances, you can still enjoy the lighting that these candles create. More than likely someone will be cooking something that smells delicious during the holidays anyways. If you would still like to have actual candles, you can think about using soy candles instead of oil based candles. Soy-wax candles burn cleaner and slower, and are not toxic. You can also place your candles in rooms where you can increase the ventilation to help decrease the smoke building in the rooms.
If you have any more questions about asthma attacks and using scented candles during the holidays, give us a call at 805-658-9500 today. Our great team at Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology Medical Group will be happy to help you!