Treatment for inhaling black walnut sawdust

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Forum topic by CueballRosendaul posted 02-15-2016 06:34 PM 4003 views 0 times favorited 32 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View CueballRosendaul's profile


484 posts in 2343 days

02-15-2016 06:34 PM

Topic tags/keywords: sawdust allergy black walnut

So apparently I wasn’t careful enough with my dust collection and dust mask when making an end grain BW cutting board a couple weeks ago. I know all the rules and rhetoric about the danger, but has anyone ever had a respiratory response and found relief?

I had the awful fatigue for several days and now I have a nagging cough that cough syrup has only a minor effect on. I’ve taken some allergy tablets, but since I’m already exposed, it doesn’t seem to do too much. I’m going to go get some allergy nose spray and see if that will help, but I almost think an asthma inhaler might do me some good (even though I don’t have asthma or any other such conditions).

Anyone have suggested treatments before I go to the Dr.?

-- Matt CueBall Rosendaul. I don't think I've ever had a cup of coffee that didn't have cat hair or sawdust in it.

32 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5177 posts in 2696 days

#1 posted 02-15-2016 06:45 PM

I don’t, I think you should get to the Doc ASAP.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View jmartel's profile


8237 posts in 2353 days

#2 posted 02-15-2016 06:51 PM

I had a reaction to white oak earlier last week that I’m still getting over. I didn’t see the doctor, but it seems to be clearing up a bit more every day. Just gotta remember to wear my respirator even for only a couple cuts (like this time was).

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View Clarkie's profile


466 posts in 2044 days

#3 posted 02-15-2016 07:14 PM

Hello Matt, sorry to hear about your situation. I had a run in with walnut many years ago, I had planed some thick stock and walked through the shavings and burned the dust in my wood stove, the smell was great. Three days later the symptoms started, my skin, where it was exposed, legs and arms, had swollen to three times normal and turned a deep purple. The wood I had planed down was butternut, in the walnut family, and it took 3 different doctors before I found one who knew wood allergies and reactions. I may not remember the exact spelling but this is what I found back then. If you go into the forest and locate a walnut tree, you will see that at the base of the tree there is no vegetation growing for a ten foot area. The walnut tree has a chemical make up in it that it puts out to protect itself from weeds and such, this is what you have ingested through the dust. It’s not wise to attempt to self medicate at this point, you should get to a doctor and tell him you are having a reaction to the wood. It took me 29 days and three different medications to get it out of my system, very irritating. I believe the chemical is called lubna, pronounced ‘looo b na’. Hope you get relief soon, take care, Clarkie.

View CueballRosendaul's profile


484 posts in 2343 days

#4 posted 02-15-2016 07:54 PM

The chemical is juglone. I did read someone else’s posts that said it took 2-3 weeks to clear up.

-- Matt CueBall Rosendaul. I don't think I've ever had a cup of coffee that didn't have cat hair or sawdust in it.

View Aj2's profile


1881 posts in 2001 days

#5 posted 02-15-2016 08:34 PM

I am mildly sensitive to Walnut, I don’t sand and have very good dust collection on my machines.But I still have to be careful.
I worked a slab of Bulbinga once and only once. I just wanted to die the itching and swollen eye lids was horrible.Three vists to the My doctor and prednisone was the only thing to stop the itching.
Hope you get better soon.Try some benedryl if ya cannot get to your doc soon enough.

-- Aj

View Redoak49's profile


3669 posts in 2192 days

#6 posted 02-15-2016 08:47 PM

Please….if you think this is from the walnut, go see a doctor.

View hotbyte's profile


991 posts in 3178 days

#7 posted 02-15-2016 09:02 PM

Oh my…even if not the walnut, a Dr visit might be wise.

View CueballRosendaul's profile


484 posts in 2343 days

#8 posted 02-15-2016 09:26 PM

It may be bronchitis. Will see what the week holds and make an appt for the end of the week.

-- Matt CueBall Rosendaul. I don't think I've ever had a cup of coffee that didn't have cat hair or sawdust in it.

View ChuckV's profile


3179 posts in 3730 days

#9 posted 02-15-2016 09:32 PM

I do not recommend seeking medical advice from LJs or help with blind dovetails from WebMD. I think that you should see a doctor sooner rather than later.

I wish you all the best!

-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters

View MadMark's profile


979 posts in 1656 days

#10 posted 02-15-2016 11:19 PM

Walnut trees will poison horses. Get thee to an MD … now ...


-- Madmark -

View Kazooman's profile


1240 posts in 2155 days

#11 posted 02-15-2016 11:48 PM

Matt (aka Cueball):

Sorry to hear about the respiratory problem. I have had similar issues from time to time for years. I try my best to use good dust control on all of my machines including my ROS and wear a mask when I am stirring up dust. Unfortunately, the dust is there and it lingers on every surface. It is really hard to keep every surface spotless so that you do not need any protection if you are very sensitive. I have been suffering from a minor respiratory issue for a few weeks and I have gone over and over everything I have done in the shop to try to eliminate that as a cause.

A good resource for the toxicity of various species of wood is They have a section on toxicity.

I agree that you should seek medical evaluation. However I would echo the thoughts of others that not all physicians are knowledgable regarding wood toxicity issues. Many years ago I had a bad rash on my hands and I went to a dermatologist for an evaluation. When I asked if it might be a reaction to some of the wood I was working with I got a totally blank stare. When I returned home I printed out several articles on wood toxicity in general and contact toxicity specifically and mailed the package to the Doc. Never went back.

Don’t rush in to using a steroid inhaler. They are fantastic at adressing the problems for those who really need them, but it might be like throwing a bomb at a small problem. These are VERY potent drugs and there are numerous side effects. Potentially lifesaving for those who need them, but not a good idea for those with lesser problems that can be addressed with less aggressive therapy.

View paratrooper34's profile


915 posts in 3155 days

#12 posted 02-16-2016 12:11 AM

Yeah, seeking medical advice on a woodworking website is not something I would recommend. Go to the doctor ASAP (you should have already gone). I would absolutely ignore all of the advice given to you. Only a medical doctor should be giving aid, not woodworkers. I got it, some docs might not know all the species of wood and their potential hazards, but a doc is damn sure more knowledgeable about medical care than any woodworking blogger (unless they are also a doctor).

Good luck, I hope you find some (real) help.

-- Mike

View Clarkie's profile


466 posts in 2044 days

#13 posted 02-16-2016 01:08 AM

Clarkie…<<<<<<< not a real doctor, but I did stay at a motel 6 once

View TheFridge's profile


10747 posts in 1689 days

#14 posted 02-16-2016 02:33 AM

Because the thousands of woodworkers on this site have never dealt with respiratory problems… You should see a dr.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


5713 posts in 2612 days

#15 posted 02-16-2016 02:36 AM

Clarkie…<<<<<<< not a real doctor, but I did stay at a motel 6 once

- Clarkie


-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

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