Can you be allergic to raw wool?

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Posts 1
on Nov 2, 2012 12:45 PM

So I have been trying to spin using a drop spindle for a while now and I got a good hang of it. My big problem is that the fibers make my throat itchy and sometimes it feels like some fibers are stuck in it. I tried spinning with my hands a bit wet, I even tried a humidifier close to where I spin, but the itchy problem is still there even when I ply.  My husband thinks that I could be allergic or sensitive to the fiber. I tried some allergy medication like Claritin (?spelling)and it did help a bit.

Once the fiber is set the problem go away.

Could fiber allergies possible?

And dose this mean that I should stop spinning?

Thanks for the help



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Posts 193
reuils wrote
on Nov 9, 2012 2:39 AM

Hello Isabelle,

 When you say raw wool ,are you talking about unwashed fleece ? I've known people who are allergic to lanolin.

You could try  wearing a mask,  to see if that reduces the problem.If it does ,I'm not sure what your long term solution would be .


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Posts 3
on Dec 18, 2012 12:51 AM

Like reuils said, it could be the lanolin of the wool.  

Another thing is the detergent if it is a washed fleece.  Detergent allergies are common, if you wash your own wool try another detergent or test the detergent with something else.  If someone else washes it, ask about what they use so you can avoid it in future purchases.

If you are allergic to the wool, try other types of wool...sometimes an allergy can be spread across the entire network(EX:citrus allergy) but sometimes you may just be allergic to that one type of sheep(EX:lemon).  So other types could work, also check out other animal fibers(I'm not sure how closely related they are to sheep) such as alpacas or rabbits.

Even if that fails, there are vegetable and man-made fibers such as silk, tencel, hemp, bamboo, soysilk, flax, cotton, and even milk fibers.  

Here is a source to check about non-wool fibers:

Knitty/Knittyspin are a good source since one of the women behind it has a wool allergy. Also search through their blog

Sorry that got a little long especially for an older post. 

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Posts 2
spinboy wrote
on Feb 10, 2013 5:45 PM

Hi Isabelle,

 I am not a doctor but I am pretty sure you can be allergic to wool. Are you spinning raw fleece or has it been processed and washed? I have friends that have the same problem even when they are spinning processed wool. It sounds like it might be the lanolin that is in the wool prior to washing it. You never have to stop spinning :) I am a part of Paradise Fibers fiber club and I receive 3 different kinds of fiber each month. If you have issues with wool they have actually sent me fiber from Milk and Banana. I would try using a plant based fiber. Paradise Fibers has a huge selection of spinning fibers and I am sure you could find something there that isn't wool.  Hope this helps and happy spinning :)

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