Why is my Christmas Tree making me sneeze? Am I Allergic to my tree?

December 2, 2023

As the holiday season approaches, many eagerly look forward to decorating their homes with a Christmas tree. However, what if that beloved tree becomes the cause of your seasonal sniffles and sneezes? Over one-third of American households embrace the tradition of bringing a Christmas tree into their homes during the holidays. If you find yourself dealing with a runny nose and itchy eyes after setting up the tree, you might be experiencing a case of "Christmas Tree Syndrome" — an allergic reaction to pine or mold.

The topic may be a head scratcher, but AFC Urgent Care Marlborough has created an easy to read guide to help you understand “Christmas tree Syndrome.” 

Symptoms of Christmas Tree Syndrome:

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

What Triggers Christmas Tree Syndrome?

Christmas Tree Syndrome can be activated by both live and artificial trees, though it is more commonly associated with natural trees. Various factors, including the tree's scent, resin, or naturally occurring molds, may contribute to the symptoms. A study conducted by the State University of New York revealed that 70 percent of molds present on live Christmas trees could lead to severe asthma attacks, fatigue, sinus congestion, and more.

Preventing Christmas Tree Syndrome:

For Live Trees:

  • Wear gloves and long sleeves to prevent sap contact with your skin.
  • Use a mask, especially if you have asthma or are sensitive to dust and pollen.
  • Shake or blow the tree with a leaf blower, then spray it with water before bringing it inside to remove pollen and mold.
  • Allow the tree stump to dry outside for a few days to prevent mold growth.
  • Families with severe allergies should consider avoiding live trees. If opting for one, leave it up for no more than a week.

For Artificial Trees:

  • Store your artificial tree properly during the off-season: wrap it securely, store it in a cool, dry place, and avoid 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.
  • Remove the Christmas tree promptly after the holidays to reduce the chances of mold spores and other allergens.

AFC Urgent Care Marlborough is here for YOU!

If you suspect Christmas Tree Syndrome is affecting you, visit AFC Urgent Care Marlborough 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 operate seven days a week and welcome most insurance plans. Whether you prefer to walk in or schedule an appointment, feel free to call us anytime. Don't forget to explore our hassle-free online payment system—simple check-ins and check-outs are just a few clicks away. Warm wishes for a joyful holiday season and continued good health!

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