Sycamore Allergy?

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Forum topic by ErikF posted 08-27-2012 01:29 PM 10830 views 0 times favorited 31 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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649 posts in 2788 days

08-27-2012 01:29 PM

It’s 6:30 a.m. and I am sitting on my couch with my left eye partially swelled shut and a terrible rash covering half of my upper body. I started having a small rash show up about a week ago and figured it was heat rash (we had some hot days and I don’t have a/c at work) but it has cooled down and I have only gotten worse. My wife hasn’t changed our laundry detergent and I don’t think the dog rolled in anything. The only thing that I can think of is the wood shop and the sycamore I started cutting for a project last week. I have never used sycamore before so this would be my first exposure to it. Has anyone else had a similar reaction?

-- Power to the people.

31 replies so far

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17975 posts in 3550 days

#1 posted 08-27-2012 01:37 PM

Cant say that i have but some benedryl may help you out some. Might wanna get it checked out for safety’s sake.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

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649 posts in 2788 days

#2 posted 08-27-2012 01:44 PM

I’m heading to the doctor this morning. A couple pictures showing some of the reaction…

-- Power to the people.

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5772 posts in 3776 days

#3 posted 08-27-2012 01:49 PM

For what it’s worth, I don’t see anything in any of the wood toxicity / allergy charts that even mentions Sycamore.

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View Bertha's profile


13567 posts in 3237 days

#4 posted 08-27-2012 01:52 PM

^Sycamore doesn’t leap to mind as an allergen, but I’m sure it’s possible. Whatever it is, it really got you. I had the same thing happen with bocote. I can’t get near it anymore. About the only thing that helped me was old school hydroxyzine and a steroid. Get well.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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11362 posts in 2720 days

#5 posted 08-27-2012 02:23 PM

Could very well be. Sycamore pollens are considered to be allergenic.

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404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 3513 days

#6 posted 08-27-2012 08:20 PM

Firstly, I hope whatever it is you get over it quickly, and I’m just wondering if there was any spalting in the sycamore. If you have an allergy to molds, that’s what it might be. I am not a Doctor, just chipping in my 2 cents.

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649 posts in 2788 days

#7 posted 08-27-2012 10:03 PM

Update: I went to the doctor this morning and am now on the couch looking like a weed-whipped a field od poison ivy. We think it must be the sycamore because it is the only new thing that I know I have been exposed to in the time I have been having these allergy symptoms. Both eyes are now swollen and my entire neck and face are red and itchy along with my arms. I’m going to stay out of the shop for a few days then do a “tape test”- put some sycamore sawdust on a piece of tape and put in on my arm for a day. I hope it’s not the case because I just picked up some beautiful boards and am halfway into a project with them. Thanks for the well wishes.

-- Power to the people.

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1597 posts in 3380 days

#8 posted 08-28-2012 01:38 AM

I’ve been learning that wood allergies can be totally random and suck. I looked a little worse then that three weeks ago, more of the face, both arms in the same spot, back of the neck and chest; tigerwood did it to me. I also know that I react to willow but not cherry, oak, maple, walnut, padauk, purpleheart, and several other exotics.

-- A posse ad esse

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649 posts in 2788 days

#9 posted 08-28-2012 02:13 AM

Sounds like the same spots I am dealing with right now. How long did it take to clear up and what steps did you take to expedite the process?

-- Power to the people.

View RussellAP's profile


3105 posts in 2830 days

#10 posted 08-28-2012 02:19 AM

I think you need to go to a doctor, not ask a bunch of woodworkers.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

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649 posts in 2788 days

#11 posted 08-28-2012 02:25 AM

Already went to the doctor this morning…just wanted to see if anyone had similar experiences and share my own.

-- Power to the people.

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5772 posts in 3776 days

#12 posted 08-28-2012 02:29 AM

First off, I am glad you went to the doctor, and secondly, please keep us posted. I have never heard of a Sycamore wood or dust allergy, only sycamore pollen. As I tend toward allergies I like to know all I can about what allergens are out there…

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robert triplett

1566 posts in 3649 days

#13 posted 08-28-2012 05:21 AM

I was just working with some Sycamore again today and have never had this reaction. I COULD trade you some Yellowheart for it. That stuff gives me a slight rash over my eyes and ears and some swelling when I use a lot of it!!! I think we can have unique sensitivities to different woods. I just used some rosewood for the first time and made sure to wash well after I was done. But I could develop sensitivity over repeated exposure. I have read of people getting a bad rash after just one use. Hope your rash clears up soon. Thanks for telling us about it.

-- Robert, so much inspiration here, and now time to work!!!

View Johnnyblot's profile


319 posts in 2820 days

#14 posted 08-28-2012 11:44 AM

It’s a real shame about the sycamore because it is a lovely timber to work and looks great, one of my favourites too.

I had a similar problem with IROKO. Which is a pity cos I had quite a lot of it? Also it has a lovely honey, light brown colour that ages well. I had the itchy patches on my arms too. Also my sinuses were effected- I snored solid for a week [my wife says] :-) GUYS- What ever you do- wash your hands BEFORE going to use the toilet! You know what I’m saying??


-- Gossamer shavings just floating around the back yard….-Bandit

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39 posts in 2725 days

#15 posted 08-28-2012 02:20 PM

This thread brings closer to home. I would have never thought of it as possible. I should learn a thing or two about the wood I am working on. Get well!

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