The holiday season is in full swing – time to deck the halls!
But beware: If you suddenly find yourself sneezing, fatigued, and with a runny nose during the most wonderful time of the year, it might not be a cold. It could be an allergy, and your Christmas tree might be the culprit.
Can you be allergic to your Christmas tree?
Short answer: Yes.
Whether you put up a live Christmas tree or an artificial one, both options come with components that could be triggering allergies:
Live Christmas trees
Can house different types of molds between their branches, which flourish and spread when put into a warm environment, for example a heated living room. Studies have shown more than 50 types of mold in different Christmas tree samples in all popular species, for example different fir types (Fraser, Douglas, Balsam), spruce types (Colorado blue, white), and pine types (Scotch, Virginia, Eastern White). There is no “allergy-friendly” tree species, as they could all potentially bring mold spores inside your home.
Artificial Christmas trees
Can house a lot of dust particles from storage, which are raised during montage. Additionally, tree ornaments can be equally dusty due to sitting in storage for a year. Depending on where you are storing your Holiday decorations (e.g., the basement or the attic), mold could also grow on your ornaments or the boxes they are stored in due to the humidity in the room.
Common allergy symptoms
If you notice the following symptoms during the time you are decorating for the holidays, they might be triggered by mold spores and dust particles brought into your home by your Christmas tree, ornaments, and other decorations:
- Sneezing, wheezing, coughing
- Watery eyes, runny or congested nose
- Fatigue and headaches
How to prevent holiday décor-related allergy reactions
Now that you know what could be causing you (or a family member) allergy-related troubles, let’s focus on making it better and preventing future allergic reactions related to holiday decorations altogether:
Mold can be eliminated by wiping the tree trunk with a solution of lukewarm water and diluted bleach (20 parts water, 1 part bleach). Wear gloves while doing so.
If you’re dealing with an artificial tree, make sure to dust off the singular parts outside before assembling the tree. Dust off (or even better, wipe with a damp cloth) ornaments, wreaths, and other decorations before hanging them.
Clean the air
Another way to ensure the air quality in your home is good is to invest into an air purifying unit including a HEPA-filter. Putting it up in the room housing your Christmas tree will help to catch any stray allergens (dust, mold spores, pollen, pet allergens, smoke particles) in the air and trap them in the filter.
Make sure to clean your artificial tree, ornaments, and other decorations off dust before you store them away after the holiday season is over. Even though cardboard boxes are a popular way of storing Holiday decorations, opt for sealed plastic containers instead – this will prevent the growth of mold during storage, especially if you keep your decorations in damp or humid areas, like the attic, basement, or the garage.
Dealing with unexplained allergy symptoms? Get the ALL at-home allergy test and explore your triggers – convenient, highly reliable, and easy-to-use.
Sources: NCBI, Wexner Medical Center