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Can Scented Candles Cause Coughing? Read Here

  • Written By Candace 
  • Updated On
  • 6 min read

If you have lit up a new scented candle in your home recently and started to cough more than often, it is possible that your new scented candle could be causing you to cough. 

Scented candles are unlikely to cause coughing in individuals unless you are allergic to them, the fragrances in candles could potentially set off allergies such as coughing or a runny nose, they can even trigger asthma. 

To figure out whether or not your scented candle is causing your coughing, whether or not it triggers asthma, which candles are allergy-friendly and some other effects of scented candles, we’ve made a small guide below with all you need to know.

Signs You Could Be Allergic To Scented Candles 

For people who have started coughing around a certain candle, the fragrance inside of the candle wax could be to blame. Although the burning of candles is safe and has little effect on health, all individuals can react differently depending on the acute health issues they already have.

We’ve listed a few common signs below which could indicate you are allergic to scented candles below. 

  • Coughing. 
  • A stuffy nose. 
  • Trouble breathing. 
  • Headaches. 
  • Sneezing.

Can Scented Candles Trigger Asthma?

Scented candles (especially Yankee candles) can also be an asthma trigger for some people and a health risk, especially scented candles which are made from paraffin wax as they can release harmful chemicals which trigger asthma symptoms. 

Paraffin scented candles compared to beeswax candles release powerful fumes when burned such as toluene and benzene that could potentially trigger asthma and indoor air pollution due to the soot produced in that type of candle

What Candles Are Best For Allergies? 

If you are a lover of scented candles but don’t want the undesired chemicals and coughing from them, your better off choosing a candle that is made of natural materials such as soy wax or beeswax. 

We’ve listed a few other tips below for burning candles with allergies. 

  • Burn them with ventilation – Although it takes away the scent, it could be worth having your candlelit with a fan or the windows open, this helps disperse the scent and smoke rather than leave it concentrated in the room you are in.
  • Avoid fragrance oils and choose essential oils – One way to reduce coughing around scented candles is by choosing ones scented with essential oils rather than fragrance oils, this way the scent is natural and not synthetic, meaning it’s less likely to trigger any respiratory conditions.
  • Choose one note fragrance candles – Scented candles which have multiple combinations of scents can be more likely to trigger people with asthma and cause coughing, it also means more unwanted chemicals in the air.

Negative Effects Of Scented Candles 

Apart from triggering asthma issues and allergies, you might be wondering if there are any other ill effects you can get from burning scented candles in your home. 

We’ve listed a few to watch out for below.

  • They add particles to the air – Burning candles in your home adds another particulate matter to the air, although this is a small amount in comparison to other things in your home, it can still make air quality less clear.
  • Paraffin-based candles release chemicals – Although in a very small concentration, paraffin candles can release toxic soot and chemicals into the air, this is no more than standard car fumes, but could defiantly be the culprit for a cough or asthma.

Should I Burn Scented Candles In My Home?

You might be slightly concerned about burning scented candles in your home after reading the above, but the good news is, most candles have to be made according to the National Candle Association rules for you to be able to burn them in your home, so do not release high levels of toxins in enough quantity for the development of health risks.

If you are having a reaction to a scented candle however such as coughing or trouble breathing, it’s best to throw it away and try a different scent or try making your natural beeswax candle at home with some essential oils.

Frequently Asked Questions About Scented Candles & Coughing 

Can scented candles cause lung cancer? 

Paraffin wax can release cancer-causing harmful chemicals when burned due to them being made from petroleum. This is highly unlikely however to cause cancer, and the small exposure to a scented Yankee candle should not cause any issues to human health.

What is a lead-core wick candle? 

Lead-core wicks were discontinued a long time ago in old cancer, due to them being lead they used to release harmful chemicals when burnt. You can tell if a candle wick is a lead by judging its thickness and rubbing it on paper to see if it produces a grey colour.

Are natural wax candles better for coughs?

Candles made from plant-based wax, soy wax or beeswax are better for people who cough as there is no sort of chemicals in them apart from the fragrance.

Are candles bad for lung health? 

Candles are no worse than any other pollution for your lung health, they produce particulate matter and VOC’s, but not in high enough amounts to cause lung cancer.

What else can I use instead of a scented candle?

If you would rather not burn a scented candle at all with your coughing, you could look at some alternatives to fragrance your homes such as reed or oil diffusers which do not give off any toxic fumes or smoke.

How do I know if I’m allergic to a candle?

Any symptoms such as coughing, a runny nose or headache could show that you are allergic to the actual candle, a study of paraffin wax shows it can also cause poor lung health with long-term exposure.

Last Words 

To conclude, scented candles could cause coughing in individuals who are allergic to the wax of a candle or the fragrance oil used inside. Avoid paraffin candles if you cough a lot around them avoid cancer-causing chemicals by using natural ones with essential oil fragrances rather than man-made fragrances.

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