When Dr. Thoma's children reached schooling age, he had to quit the forester's position and move with his family to Salzburg, a more civilized area. Two weeks after moving into their new apartment, the children began to cough consistently. Over time, their coughing became so intense that it created a threat of suffocation.
After many visits to the doctors, it turned out that the children were allergic to particle boards that the furniture and the floors in the new apartment were made of. This surprised Dr. Thoma, as particle boards were made from wood. It wasn’t the wood, said the doctor, but the chemicals seeping out of them. The only solution was cortisone therapy. A leaflet revealed that cortisone administered to children under the age of 20 would destroy their kidneys.
Luckily, Dr. Thoma's grandfather, a carpenter already in his 80’s at that time, had a different yet simple solution. Dr. Thoma sent the children with their mother away for the holidays, and together with his grandfather, the two replaced the particle board walls and furniture with simple and handmade solid wood. When the children came back and after a short period of time, all symptoms of their allergy disappeared.
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