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Allergen of the month: Christmas trees

As the holiday season quickly approaches, for this Allergen of the Month entry we take a closer look at Christmas trees.

 

Although Christmas trees are festive and fun, as well as fresh-smelling in the home, they may not be as innocent as they look. As published in the “Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology,” natural Christmas trees can carry microscopic mold spores, which can lead to asthma and allergic reactions, putting a damper on your holiday spirit. The affliction even has a term: Christmas Tree Syndrome and is most concerning for those with acute asthma and allergies. Luckily, there are ways to continue to enjoy this year’s tree while minimizing not-so-fun allergies.


Fast facts

• Christmas trees can carry up to 50 types of mold

• They can increase the amount of mold spores in your living space by as much as six and a half times

• Mold will continue to increase while the tree is in your home and reduce once the tree is removed

• Sneezing, watery eyes, an itchy nose and an increased incidence or severity of asthma can be symptoms of allergies caused by Christmas trees

 

How to prevent Christmas tree allergies

As suggested by doctors and the American Christmas Tree Association, below are some tips to reduce the risk of asthma attacks and allergies for sufferers during the holiday season.

• Keep a live Christmas tree in your home for a limited time. Four to seven days is suggested.

• Clean your tree before bringing it inside by rinsing it with a hose, and leaving it to dry before bringing it into your home.

• Purchase an artificial tree, but note, even these can accumulate allergenic debris like dust and mold over time, and some artificial trees may also contain VOCs.

• Use an air purifier like Airmega, which has duel HEPA filters that removes 99.97 percent of particulate matter to decrease mold spores in your home.

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