December 11, 2023/Daily Health Stories

Is your Christmas Tree Causing your Allergies to Flare Up?

Is your Christmas tree making you cough and sneeze? Since real and artificial trees can carry allergens, you could be experiencing what some people call Christmas tree syndrome. An allergist explains.

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CLEVELAND – Is your Christmas tree making you cough and sneeze?

Since real and artificial trees can carry things like dust and mold, you could be experiencing what some people call Christmas tree syndrome.

“When people bring a real or artificial tree into their home and notice some worsening of their allergy symptoms, this can sometimes be referred to as Christmas tree syndrome,” explained DeVon Preston, MD, an allergist with Cleveland Clinic.

Although being allergic to pine trees is relatively uncommon, there could be other allergens lurking.

Cleveland Clinic allergist DeVon Preston said real trees can have weed pollen and mold.

Even taking in the comforting pine smell can irritate your sinuses and lungs because of the chemical compounds present.

If your family goes the artificial route, Dr. Preston said allergens like dust and mold can build up on the tree in storage.

If the tree’s already up and you’re noticing your allergies worsen, getting an air purifier as well as traditional allergy medicines can help.

“For symptom management, things like over-the-counter nasal steroids, nasal antihistamines or oral antihistamines can help with some of those symptoms,” Dr. Preston said.

Dr. Preston adds it’s probably best to get rid of real trees soon after the holiday since mold can continue to grow on them even once they’re indoors.

Artificial trees and other holiday decorations should be stored in an airtight container to help keep them free of dust and mold.

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