10 Serious Side Effects Of Burning Incense Sticks
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If you use incense regularly to make your house smell better, for meditation, or for spiritual purposes, you might want to reconsider. While incense smells great and gives you a pleasant feeling, it’s not a great idea to use it excessively. Here are a few reasons why incense is bad for you.
Why incense smoke is BAD for you
1. Affects Cardiovascular Health
Research has confirmed that those who use incense sticks at home regularly are 12% more likely to die of heart problems. They were also 19% more likely to have a stroke and 10% more likely to develop coronary heart disease. These were mostly people who had burned incense at home every day for more than 20 years.
2. Is Toxic to Cells
When incense is burnt, it produces a lot of air pollutants and harmful chemical substances. The most prominent among these is particulate matter, which is highly toxic to cells. It can change genetic material like DNA, which eventually leads to mutations. These mutations are largely responsible for the development of various kinds of cancer.
3. Causes Lung Cancer
Many of the air pollutants produced when incense is burnt are carcinogenic – cancer causing. These pollutants tend to cause irritation in the lungs and also affect health in general. Research suggests that exposure to them in close quarters for a long duration is likely to increase the chance of lung cancer. However, this has been confirmed only for Chinese men who are smokers.
4. Results In Contact Dermatitis
If you are allergic to pollutants and irritants in the air, chances are burning incense sticks will affect you. When incense is burnt, the particulate matter and other allergens produced interact with the skin and get dissolved in the sebum – an oily substance secreted by the skin for lubrication. This, in turn, results in skin allergies and hence causes contact dermatitis. The allergens produced also heighten the levels of blood immunoglobulin E (ige) – antibodies produced by your body in response to allergens – which is also an indicator of contact dermatitis.
5. Causes Headaches
Even with low concentrations of carbon monoxide, doctors note that exposure to these low concentrations can result in headaches, nausea, dizziness and general discomfort. Far, from the peaceful, calming, spiritual effects that most people associate with incense.
6. Creates Neurological Problems
Studies show that burning incense indoors greatly increases the concentration of carbon monoxide. Chronic exposure to incense sticks could cause neurological problems. This means that it could result in memory loss and impaired learning abilities.
7. Adversely Affects Babies And Children
In general, constant exposure to incense smoke is never a good idea. So, it’s definitely a good choice to stay away from it when you when you’re pregnant. Inhaling incense smoke is likely to put the health of your baby at risk. Research suggests a likelihood of children developing leukemia if their mothers were around incense regularly while pregnant. The possibility of gene mutations contributes to this.
8. Can Cause COPD
Multiple studies note that women from cultures that regularly burn incense at home develop COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). This is a heart disease that normally occurs among smokers. This finding coincides with other studies which suggest that incense smoke is in fact as harmful if not more harmful than cigarette smoke.
9. Increases Asthma Symptoms
Incense burning produces air pollutants and irritants, which are among the primary causes of asthma; the increase in exposure to these results in aggravated asthma symptoms due to the inflammation of lung cells. So, frequent exposure to incense smoke increases existing symptoms of asthma such as wheezing and cough.
10. Negatively Affects Respiratory Tract
A lot of people cough or sneeze when incense sticks are burnt. This is because incense smoke contains a lot of respiratory irritants that cause discomfort. Some types of incense have been proved to be more toxic for the lungs than cigarette smoke due to the higher amounts of particulate matter. Incense smoke can also make its way deep into your airways because it has finer particles than cigarette smoke.
Frequent exposure to any kind of incense stick for long durations can adversely affect your health, so it’s best to avoid the use as far as possible. If you have lung problems, avoid using incense. It is also recommended that you reduce the amount of time you’re exposed to incense and ensure sufficient ventilation while burning incense at home.