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Cigarette smoke and asthma?

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I live in a house with 8 other roomies, and 3/4 of them smoke. Most of the time they smoke outside, but it still affects me, more so lately. I never used to have this reaction to cigarette smoke before, until a few years ago, and now even if I have a whiff of it I will cough, wheeze, and sometimes this goes on for hours after the exposure. The longer the exposure the worst and longer the symptoms. They mostly smoke outside, but the windows are open and the smoke comes in, or if they smoke in the garage it still comes in. Right now I'm wheezing and coughing, and it started early this morning and I didn't know why as I couldn't smell smoke, but as soon as I went to the bathroom I could smell it and then it made sense. It's strange, and I know it's not in my head because my body was reacting to it even though I didn't know or couldn't smell it. It's really starting to irritate me, and moving is not an option right now. I couldn't really afford it but ended up buying an air purifier which might be why I couldn't smell the smoke, however it doesn't work as I am still wheezing and coughing. I have never had asthma and I am a non smoker as is much of my family. Is it possible to have asthma only when exposed to cigarette smoke or maybe it's an allergy? Is there such thing as a cigarette allergy?

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There are about 400 chemicals/additives in cigarette smoke (not kidding!) and that is why so many people are allergic to cigarette smoke. It is a very common allergy which I myself have.


You MUST either move or go to the doctor to get an inhaler to treat asthma because the symptoms you are describing show you have a serious allergy to cigarette smoke that could be triggering asthma, which can be deadly and kill you. The air passages in your lungs can swell shut, and/or the tissue in your throat.


Allergies can come and go in severity and sensitivity, so something that may only irritate you at one time may cause a severe reaction at another. It has a lot to do with the state of your immune system at the particular time, and whether you are exposed to other things you are allergic to at the same time. So you may not have had an episode serious enough to send you to the hospital yet, but it could happen.


In the meantime, until you go to the doctor, you may want to take Benadryl or other allergy medicine while living in the house. But you must see a doctor because asthma can be deadly and not always time to get to the hospital before it is too late.

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I have asthma and have all the symptoms you have at the onset of an asthma attack.


You might want to see if you can get an inhaler or something and move ASAP.


Secondhand smoke is dangerous to your health, and, not to mention, it smells disgusting.

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I don't know if this really helps, but just a note: My boyfriend used to have asthma UNTIL he started smoking. I think it has something to do with the fact that when you start smoking, your lungs are willing to accept more "toxins" without seeming affected (wheezing, coughing) than when you don't smoke. After that first cigarette you smoke, you always cough like crazy, but after that, smoking doesn't make you cough anymore because your lungs have acclimated to a certain level of abuse.


Just a little food for thought. Not saying you should go out and buy a pack of cigs

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Well, you got great info and advice.


Just wanted to comment on that last one, sort of, it is related to your question.


As horrible as this coughing, and getting sick and possibly having asthma attacks are (and you probably are alergic and reacting! scary stuff) - it is still better than if you didn't cough or get visibly sick at all.


Yeah, I used to smoke a lot and be around a lot of smokers. It wasn't until AFTER I quit that I coughed, lost my breathe a lot, my lungs ached for months, sneezing etc. etc.


That's bc when you smoke, or around it enough and are not real sensitive to it allergy-wise, the smoke effectively PARALYZES the cilia in the lungs.

So all that poison just sits there! Gross.


Take care of yourself and find a way to get away from the smoke. Go to the doctor. Take it real serious.

And good wishes.

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Thanks everybody for your advice and feedback, it is very much appreciated. I am just waiting to hear back from UBC to see if I got accepted and if so I will be moving in a few months anyway, but if not I will have to find another place that is 100% smoke free as I'm getting a bit nervous about risking any more 'episodes' as they seem to get worst. And I will see a doctor as soon as I find one! Thanks again.

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