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Anon_231009 posted:
Just need to know if anyone else has maybe had the same experience as I've had... I've been a pack-a-day smoker for over 35 years. My grandson is almost 4, and it seems as if each time I babysit or am around him for any prolonged period of time he comes down with a fever within the next 24-48 hours. I don't smoke in the house, we've smoked outside for many years. He has never inhaled any smoke that I'm aware of. Anytime we are smoking outside, he is in the house.

Is it possible that he could be getting sick simply from sitting next to me on the couch? Can he be affected by the chemicals in my clothing or on my skin?
Byroney_WebMD_Staff responded:
Hello Anon_231009 and welcome!

This article on Smoking: Health Risks for Family Members may hold some answers. This article on Effects of Secondhand Smoke is even more detailed. It says, "Between 150,000 and 300,000 children under the age of 18 months get respiratory infections (such as pneumonia and bronchitis) from secondhand smoke; 7,500 to 15,000 of them must be hospitalized."

Let us know how you and your grandson are doing,

NoNosedKid replied to Byroney_WebMD_Staff's response:
Thanks for posting! I've read each of these articles, and neither one mention how these chemicals could possibly irritate those if they are beathing in air around me when I am NOT smoking. I have always smoked outside, and always far away from my grandson. So, is it possible he is so allergic that falling asleep on my shoulder after I've had a cigarette can irritate his lungs and cause him to come down with a fever? Are these chemicals still present on my clothing and on my skin?
Byroney_WebMD_Staff replied to NoNosedKid's response:
Hello NoNosedKid!

I checked a little further, and found this article in USA Today about "Third-Hand Smoke." Professor Georg Matt says, "If their parents use tobacco, that curiosity may expose babies to what some doctors are calling "thirdhand" smoke — particles and gases given off by cigarettes that cling to walls, clothes and even hair and skin. Up to 90% of the nicotine in cigarette smoke sticks to nearby surfaces."

Hope that helps!

Best wishes to you and your grandson,


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