Christmas Tree Allergies

Spongebob Christmas Song:

From the National Jewish Medical and Research Center website:


Christmas Tree Allergies: It’s Everything but the Tree

Christmas trees are often cited as the source of allergy attacks during the holidays, but molds, associated with watering live trees, and the chemicals sprayed on the trees are more likely irritants. “The Christmas tree issue is overemphasized,” Dr. Dan Atkins says. He finds very few cases among allergy patients in which the tree is the culprit.

Allergic reactions usually occur shortly after an encounter with an allergen, such as dust mites or molds. Unpacking the Christmas ornaments can trigger allergic reactions. “Decorations stored for the past year in a damp basement harbor molds, dust mites and other allergens,” Dr. Atkins says. “Moving, carrying and unpacking the Christmas boxes stirs up dust and transfers allergens to the hands and the respiratory system. People are first aware of the symptoms while decorating the Christmas tree and assume that the tree is the cause.

“Keep ornaments and decorations stored in dry areas, off the floor, in plastic bags,” he advises. “Wash your hands after unpacking decorations. If you’re very concerned about allergy symptoms, allow others to trim the tree.”

Artificial trees can be a good alternative, depending on storage. “If it’s in pieces on the basement or attic floor for a year,” Dr. Atkins says, “the tree will collect dust and mold. Just remember to keep it sealed in a plastic bag in an area free of dust and moisture.”

Note: This information is provided to you as an educational service of National Jewish. It is not meant to be a substitute for consulting with your own physician.

© Copyright 2006 National Jewish Medical and Research Center

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