This article is Medically Approved ✓ by Dr. Edward Salko
December often comes across as the most festive month of the year. Celebrations like Hanukkah and Christmas highlight public spaces like the airport, malls, parks, and public squares. Houses are decorated with the most extravagant tinsel, lights, garlands, and ornaments.
The season’s greetings may have filled the crisp winter air, unfortunately, so as the allergens from the nearby Christmas tree.
Allergies triggered by even the most glorious Christmas trees can cause wheezing, coughing, congestion, sneezing, watery eyes, rashes, and fatigue, to name a few.
Nobody wants to put a damp on the holiday fun. So, here’s everything you need to know about Christmas tree allergies.
It’s not the Christmas tree per se.
Unless you have an existing allergy towards pine trees which is commonly used as Christmas trees, chances are, your allergic reaction is not necessarily caused by the tree itself.
Pine allergy is notably common during spring because that’s the time they release abundant pollen.
With Christmas tree allergies, the following allergens could be responsible for your immunological response.
1. Mold Spores
2. Dust and Insect Debris
3. Tree Sap
4. Chemical Spray
5. Artificial Pine Scent
According to a study conducted by SUNY Upstate Medical University, a small Christmas tree contains about 53 types of molds.
This was further supported by a 2011 study conducted using 28 different samples of Christmas trees in which out of more than 50 types of molds, 34 of which were found out to be potential allergens.
Mold spores can trigger asthma and cause symptoms similar to hay fever. These microscopic spores can dominate artificial trees kept in humid storage areas.
Dust and Insect Debris
The fact that a Christmas tree is only featured for a month at most means that it goes in hiding for the longer end of its life. So, it’s pretty much covered with dust mites and insect droppings almost year long.
When retrieving your Christmas tree, there is a high likelihood that you will have an allergy flare-up due to the inhalation of dust and minute insect debris.
Christmas tree sap or rosin is commonly produced by coniferous trees. It is thick and sticky and can cause rashes if contacted by the skin. These rashes can develop days after touching the substance.
When you acquire your tree from a farm, it is highly likely that it contains traces of pesticides and other chemicals used to preserve its form. These chemicals can cause skin and eye irritations or other allergy symptoms.
Artificial Pine Scent
Some people opt to put up artificial trees instead of living ones. To achieve that pine tree smell, terpenes and pinenes are applied all over the fake Christmas tree. However, these substances can trigger allergic reactions in some people.
What you can do
1. Shake off the Christmas tree before bringing it inside your house. Rinse or hose it with water and use a leaf blower to get rid of dust and rogue pollens.
2. Use a bleach-water solution to spray the foliage and kill the mold spores.
3. Dust off the ornaments you use for the tree.
4. Make sure to protect yourself by wearing a mask, gloves, and long sleeves when prepping your Christmas tree.
5. Place an air purifier in the area where you put your tree to remove the allergens in the air.
Consulting Your Doctor
Allergy symptoms should not be undermined.
If left untreated it can result in serious complications.
If you experience common symptoms of allergy, it is best to take the necessary laboratory test and consult your doctor.
You can order Allergy Profile Blood Tests online for quick and accurate results.
Keep the holiday spirits on high and protect yourself from allergies brought by sloppy Christmas trees.