Christmas Tree Syndrome: Is Your Festive Tree Harming Your Health?

December 2, 2023

With the holiday season just around the corner, the excitement of bringing home a Christmas tree can quickly turn into an unexpected health concern. In fact, more than one-third of American households partake in the tradition of decorating a Christmas tree during this joyous season. However, if you discover yourself battling sneezing fits, a runny nose, and itchy eyes once your tree is up, you might be dealing with a case of "Christmas Tree Syndrome" — an allergic reaction to pine or mold.

AFC Urgent Care Malden has your back! We’ve created an easy to read guide to help you understand what exact;y “Christmas Tree Syndrome” is. 

Recognizing the Symptoms of Christmas Tree Syndrome:

  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Itchy Nose
  • Watery Eyes
  • Fatigue
  • Sleeping Issues
  • Dark circles under the eyes

Unraveling the Causes of Christmas Tree Syndrome:

Contrary to common belief, Christmas Tree Syndrome isn't exclusive to live trees; it can also affect artificial ones, though it tends to be more prevalent in natural trees. The symptoms can be triggered by various factors, ranging from the tree's aroma to the resin or molds naturally present on Christmas trees. Researchers at the State University of New York found that a significant 70 percent of molds on live Christmas trees can lead to severe issues such as asthma attacks, fatigue, and sinus congestion.

Preventing Christmas Tree Syndrome:

For Live Trees:

  • Wear gloves and long sleeves to prevent sap from coming into contact with your skin.
  • Use a mask, especially if you have asthma or are susceptible to dust and pollen.
  • Prior to bringing the tree indoors, shake it out or blow it with a leaf blower, then spray it with water to remove pollen and mold.
  • Allow the tree stump to dry outside for a few days to hinder mold growth.
  • Families with severe allergies should consider refraining from setting up live trees. If opting for one, leave it up for no more than a week.

For Artificial Trees:

  • Properly store your artificial tree during the off-season: securely wrap it and store it in a cool, dry place, avoiding dusty environments.
  • Wipe down the tree before setting it up in your home.
  • Clean ornaments before decorating the tree.
  • Exercise caution with spray snow, as aerosol chemicals can cause irritant reactions.
  • Promptly remove the Christmas tree after the holidays to minimize the risk of mold spores and other allergens.

AFC Urgent Care Malden is Here to Help!

If you suspect that Christmas Tree Syndrome is affecting you, don't hesitate to visit AFC Urgent Care Malden at any of our convenient locations. We can assist in determining whether your tree is the source of the issue or if there's a more serious underlying cause for your symptoms, such as a cold or the flu.

We are available seven days a week and accept a wide range of insurance plans. Feel free to walk in, schedule an appointment at your convenience, or give us a call. Explore our user-friendly online payment system for easy check-in and check-out with just a few clicks. Wishing you a wonderful holiday season and good health!


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