Navigating Christmas Tree-Related Health Concerns at AFC Urgent Care Norwalk

December 2, 2023

The holiday season brings joy, decorated trees, and festive lights. However, if you find yourself in the midst of sneezing fits, a runny nose, and itchy eyes after adorning your Christmas tree, you might be grappling with a phenomenon known as "Christmas Tree Syndrome."

“Christmas Tree Syndrome” can be a confusing topic of discussion, but AFC Urgent Care Norwalk has created a guide to help you understand and prevent it. 

Identifying the Signs of Christmas Tree Syndrome:

  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Itchy Nose
  • Watery Eyes
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep Disturbances
  • Dark Circles Under the Eyes

Root Causes of Christmas Tree Syndrome:

Mold and Pollen:

  • Mold spores adhere to live pine trees due to moisture accumulation on leaves, branches, and bark.
  • Pine trees can harbor 53 different mold types, many identified as potential respiratory allergens.
  • Apartments with live Christmas trees exhibited a 6-fold increase in airborne mold.

Pine Scent:

  • The distinctive pine scent originates from terpenes in tree sap, causing irritation and allergies.

Dust Mites:

  • Common triggers for respiratory allergies, dust mites can be transported by both live and artificial trees.

Insect Droppings:

  • Pests like cockroaches may leave droppings on live and artificial trees, triggering allergies.

Chemical Treatments:

  • Chemicals used on Christmas tree farms may induce symptoms like coughing and wheezing.

Nut Allergens:

  • Allergies to pine nuts, produced by certain pine tree species, can also manifest.

Preventing and Managing Christmas Tree Syndrome:

For Artificial Trees:

  • Exercise caution with spray snow during decoration, as aerosol chemicals may lead to irritant reactions.
  • During the off-season, store the tree securely away from dust and dirt.
  • Before setting up, wipe down the tree and any ornaments or decorations to keep them dust-free.

For Real Trees:

  • Avoid direct contact with tree sap; use gloves and long sleeves for protection.
  • Before bringing the tree indoors, shake it out and spray it with water to minimize pollen and mold.
  • Allow the tree stump to rest in water and dry outdoors for a few days to mitigate mold growth.


Once the festive season concludes, promptly remove the tree from your home to minimize exposure to pollen and potential mold growth.

AFC Urgent Care Norwalk - Your Holiday Health Partner:

If you suspect Christmas Tree Syndrome affecting you or a loved one, seek assistance at AFC Urgent Care Norwalk. We're available every day of the week and welcome most insurance plans. Feel free to drop by without an appointment, schedule a convenient time, or give us a call. Check out our hassle-free online payment system—just a few clicks and you're checked in and out! Wishing you joyful holidays and good health!

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