is it just me or does any one else get colds & sore throats after splitting wood with a log splitter

eernest4 Posted By eernest4, Sep 14, 2009 at 12:55 AM

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  1. eernest4

    New Member

    Oct 22, 2007
    It seems every time I go out & have a wood splitting session with my log splitter, I end up with a sore throat & a cold the next day or the day after and am sick for a couple of weeks.

    I am wondering if the wood has mold ,mildew & bacteria in it, especially the dust that sometimes waffs up
    from the log when I split it.

    I have been paying a local guy to delever wood rounds to me with his pick up truck & prehaps I should change guys and insist on freshly cut wood to split, even if I end up paying more for the wood.

    I would guess that freshly cut wood might be less likely to make you sick from splitting the wood,
    -___as opposed to some of the wood he sold me, only 3 months ago, that may be begining to turn rotten. ___-.

    I am in the northeast, so rain every other day, & I notice that even healthy trees that I cut down myself, so that I know when they were cut, begin turning bad in 9 months outside in the rain & after 18 months are
    on the edge or past the edge of being rotten.

    That Is one reason why I wonder when I read about people on other posts talking about seasoning their wood outside for two years. Here it would all go rotten outside before the two years of seasoning could be compleated.

    If any one has any ideas on these subjects, please chime in here.

    Sick of / or from/ rotten wood.
  2. LLigetfa

    Minister of Fire

    Nov 9, 2008
    NW Ontario
    I suppose it's possible. I had a friend that was a cabinet maker and developed a bad allergy to sawdust. You might want to try wearing a dust mask.
  3. smokinj

    Minister of Fire

    Aug 11, 2008
    Anderson, Indiana
    could be your breathing the exhaust fumes
  4. KeepItNatural


    Aug 25, 2009
    Western Conn
    My initial thoughts were also that it is from the exhaust. I don't know a whole heck of a lot about particles emitted from splitting wood, but if it is just from a mechanical splitter and not from hand splitting, then that might be the culprit.
  5. Ratman

    Feeling the Heat

    Aug 11, 2009
    Bedford, NH
    Do you ever get somewhat similar symptoms while performing any other physical activity?
    If the answer is absolutely not then do a test.
    When you do not have a cold or sore throat grab a couple of smaller fresh splits and bring them with you in the car / room your in etc.
    Try to replicate the feeling.
    If you can even slightly then you just ruled out the splitter fumes and consider seeing a otolaryngologist ( ear, nose, throat).
    If you can't then it made be prolonged close exposure to four stroke emissions.
  6. Dune

    Minister of Fire

    Jan 14, 2008
    Commonwealth Of Massachussetts
    My first and last thought is the engine exhaust as well. That is why I am building my splitter with a 5hp 220 volt electric motor. No gas, oil, noise, sparkplugs, recoil starters, etc.
  7. Shari

    Minister of Fire

    Oct 31, 2008
    You could be experiencing an allergy to mold on the wood. I had a problem with box elder when sawing it (had to use a face mask because of all the dust - no more box elder for me!).

  8. fire_N_ice


    Aug 27, 2007
    Monmouth County, NJ
    As well as mold spores, at least in NJ, Ragweed pollen (late Summer, Fall) is super high this year.
  9. Tony H

    Tony H
    New Member

    Oct 24, 2007
    N Illinois
    Do you get the same cold if you split by hand ?

    You could isolate the exaust fumes by taking a piece of pipe and route it 10 or so feet away and see if anything changes

    All I ever get is sore muscles and a surprising small pile of split wood considering all the effort .
  10. eernest4

    New Member

    Oct 22, 2007
    I'm pretty sure that it is not the exhaust fumes because all I ever got from the exhaust fumes is a temporary headache when the wind was blowing the exhaust my way. Now, I sometimes run a 20 inch electric box fan on high to divert the exhaust fumes from me.

    I seem to remember getting sick the first year as well when I was using a 4 ton 2 hp electric
    log splitter that had no exhaust.

    With a log splitter, as opposed to a sledge & wedge, your face is a lot closer to the log when it splits appart & you get the dust right up into your face.

    With a sledge hammer & wedge you are at least at arms length when the log finally splits & the split is not an energetic snap that sometimes sends 1/2 of the round flying as a gas splitter sometimes does but instead a slowly enlongating crack that you need to continue driving the wedge down into. So hand splitting makes a lot less wood dust & does not spread it so far.

    It might just be my weakened immune system from having cronic lymes desease but I think my chances of not getting sick are better with a freshly cut tree as opposed to wood I buy from some guy with a pick up truck as only he knows how long ago that wood was cut & how
    close to rotten it is getting.

    about 1/3 of the wood I bought from him was too rotten to split or to consider burning but it was still way cheaper than CS&D;. After all ,it was cut & delevered, but not split.

    I am thinking a lot about what some one said about cutting trees in the winter & splitting in march or asap for burning 2 years down the road, if I can wait that long.

    I have some smaller 30 ft softwood trees in mind to drop,cut & split.

    the hardwood trees are 100 + ft monsters with 5 ft trunks & too close to the house to drop. They would take a proffessional tree topper with climbing spikes & block & tackle & bull ropes, to safely lower their limbs which are thicker than the trunks of the softwood trees
    to the ground.

    Probably cost way more to have them topped that the wood is worth. They are 100 yrs old monster
    maple or oaks
    only 30 ft from the house but they are 4 to 6 cord trees.

    Which tree dropps eggcorns, they are those trees.

    every year I look at them and say, if only I could drop them without crushing my house.
  11. savageactor7

    Minister of Fire

    Jan 25, 2008
    It's possible you could have an allergy...couldn't hurt to try a face mask. What about in the winter when you handle wood restocking loading the fire etc...get any symptoms? I don't think I've ever handled a round that didn't have some kind of mold on it. You could have some kind of mold thing working there. You just might have to consider an alternative to wood burning. Damn I personally would hate to do that.
  12. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart LLC Mid-Atlantic Division
    Staff Member

    Nov 18, 2005
    Northern Virginia
    Maybe allergic to work? :lol:
  13. johnsopi

    Minister of Fire

    Nov 1, 2006
    MD near DE&PA;
    It is a clear case of bad wood. You need to get rid of it as fast as possible.
  14. karri0n

    New Member

    Nov 18, 2008
    Eastern CT
    I don't think it's an issue of partially rotting wood, or at least not the microbes in it. Sore throuat/cough/sinus infection is generally viral, and not something that would be living in wood. However, breathing dust, exhaust, mold spores, and physical exertion for several hours could sufficiently lower your immunity to the point that you are more susceptible to a cold shortly afterwards. Your best bet is to just stay well hydrated and eat well or take something like vitamin c or Airborne when you are going to be splitting. A dusk mask also won't hurt, and if it is a reaction to something in the wood, will help with that too.

    I don't think the wood being slightly punky is a mitigating factor.
  15. Pagey

    Minister of Fire

    Nov 2, 2008
    Middle TN
    I often develop a runny nose or a stuffy head after spitting in the barn for a couple of hours. But when you look at the amount of dust that's stirred up (highlighted by the sun shining through slats in the barn) it's really no wonder. I would classify mine as a mild to moderate allergic response to dust but nothing I would consider causing a true "cold" or bout of sickness.
  16. stee6043

    Minister of Fire

    Aug 22, 2008
    West Michigan
    Funny timing on this post. I've been suffering hard-core with seasonal allergies for the last 10 days. I went out and dropped, bucked and hauled three good sized trees yesterday. My first thought was that being oustide and working actually made me forget about my allergies for a few hours!

    So I guess I'm saying that yesterday I was the inverse of what you're experiencing. hah.
  17. pybyr

    Minister of Fire

    Jun 3, 2008
    Adamant, VT 05640
    My allergies have been much worse this year than in many years; apparently, from what I was told by a physician's assistant when I went in for a sinus infection, the unusually rainy weather in the NE has caused a lot more spores and other irritants.

    When splitting wood, the main core of the wood itself may not be the source, but bark can host a lot of fungi, especially if it's been in damp conditions. Splitting may stir up particles of the fungi and spores.
  18. TreePapa

    Minister of Fire

    Dec 24, 2008
    Southern Calif.
    If you stand behind a vertical splitter, or sit behind a hortz. one, your face (and lungs) are prolly just as far from the wood as when you are splitting w/ an ax or maul. Plus if a peice of wood "explodes" it won't hit you in the shins or elsewhere. Yes, it takes longer and you get up and down and move around more, but

    That being said, I s'pect that using a splitter does generate more dust, etc. than hand-splitting and a mask wouldn't be a bad idea if you're having respiratory-like problems.

    - Sequoia
  19. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage
    Minister of Fire

    Feb 14, 2007
    I've worked around this for a few days in my lifetime but have never experienced what you are describing. In fact, I always feel better after working with the wood.
  20. Skier76

    Minister of Fire

    Apr 14, 2009
    CT and SoVT
    I've got some bad allergies. Went the shot route, but that stopped working after awhile. I had my deviated septum corrected and never looked back.

    Don't rule out a sinus infection. If your nose is runny and clogged (and the "stuff" coming out of it is a bit oddly colored) see the doc. You may need a z-pack to get rid of it. I had a very bad one last year that I took antibiotics for and steriods. Cleared it right up and I've felt great ever since. I've even split a ton of wet pine up in ill effects.
  21. ctarborist

    New Member

    Feb 4, 2009
    southern CT
    could be the type of wood your splitting, I remember when I was a tree climber that sycamore in particular used to reek havoc on the whole crew causing all kinds of upper respiratory discomfort...just a thought
  22. jebatty

    Minister of Fire

    Jan 1, 2008
    Northern MN
    Sometimes I'll get a stuffy nose, reaction to pollen/molds/dust I suspect.
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