Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Wheat Intolerant Baker - Protecting your Lungs

When you bake bread do you end up walking away sneezing, coughing, choking and wheezing?  Sadly, the more I bake the more this is the case for me.  I have always been sensitive to dust and flour.

It has been suggested that I wear a dust mask as I measure or grind.  But, up until now I have been quite stubborn only wearing a mask intermittently.

Tips for protecting your lungs-

  • Grind your flour on the patio or in the garage.  If you grind in the kitchen you are trapped for hours in the same room with the dust hanging in the air bothering you or your family members.   
  • Measure carefully without fluffing. 
  • Wear a dust mask.  There are many styles to to choose from ranging from light dust masks to filter masks.  Check your home center.  I wear a double filter style respirator intended for sanding.  
  • Depending upon the severity of your situation you may choose to change your clothes and shower while your bread rises.  Sadly, I am to this point.
  • Follow any instructions given to you by your doctor.  

Protecting your lungs takes just a minute and with a little bit of common sense you may be able to manage baking for a long time.

2012 Update-
Sadly, I learned about protecting myself from flour exposure too late in life.  I have been a lifetime baker.   We had two missionaries in the field at the same time so I took a position as a Pastry Chef and helped open a new location.  We had done very well topping records for other locations upon opening.  I was loving the new things that I had learned.  At first I was taking an antihistamine and then my symptoms went crazy after about the third month.  One day a corporate trainer visited us and asked me if I was a Celiac.  He had worked around a baker who'd developed Celiac Disease.  There was no hiding.  I'd been noticed.  I was fighting with the realization that my life would need to take a different course.  I attempted to stay away from the flour moving to another part of the kitchen.  But, the same kitchen was used at night to bake all of the bread and we baked cakes, brownies and goodies all day.  I ended up leaving the work force and coming back home to be a full time Mom again.
I bake still, but nothing like I did before.  When I get lazy and do not wear a mask to even measure a small amount of flour I have a head ache, runny nose and sneezing afterward.  It was very hard for me to accept this change in my life.  Something that had been such a hobby to me and had brought me so much joy....  But, when I was making the choice to leave my job my mother asked me if I wanted to be able to eat.  She was so right.  When I would have egg exposures on my skin I would develop an angry red rash on my arms.  And when the flour came out I'd wheeze and get hives on my face and neck.  The fatigue that I felt was horrible.  I still wheeze from time to time even without flour exposure, but had I persisted it could have been much worse.  I have suspicious swallowing issues now that may be related to my continuing to eat wheat.  I know it is easy to say, for Heaven's sake just stop eating it.  I eat very little wheat these days, but I guess you could say I am stubborn.  I was tested years ago for Celiac, but the blood test was negative.  They say the gold standard is endoscopy.  Maybe one day I will break down and get checked.



  1. I've never baked bread. Don't know how but the one you're working on looks amazingly like lungs. I admire anyone who can bake. Thanks for the health tips you provided. ☺

  2. I wondered if anyone would notice that. I did not realize it until I was proof reading this entry. I got a chuckle out of it. :o)