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Allergies

Cigarette smoke allergy

01/25/2010

Question:

so, i been reading it not possible to be allergic to cigarette smoke. But whenever i get around it, even if it the stale smell in someone house, i get runny nose, itchy watery eyes, and sneezing. Which is all common. I get that. But can u explain the itchy rash which turns into hives, and if i dont take benadryl quick enough, i get short of breath, and throat starts to feel like its closing. What could i possibly be allergic to if it not chemicals in the smoke?

Answer:

Cigarette smoke can cause upper respiratory symptoms like you are experiencing as these symptoms are not specific for allergic rhinitis; patients with non-allergic rhinitis classically can have similar irritant-induced symptoms.  If you have asthma or subclinical asthma (yet diagnosed) cigarette smoke can cause shortness of breath. The other symptoms of hives and throat closing sensation are atypical and require further history and investigation by an allergy specialist.  Until then, avoidance of cigarette smoke would appear to be the best treatment.

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Response by:

Jonathan   Bernstein, MD Jonathan Bernstein, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati