Christmas Tree Syndrome: Is Your Tree Making You Sick?

Christmas is just around the corner and it’s the most wonderful time of the year, right? – until your Christmas tree ends up making you sick. More than one-third of American households will put up a Christmas tree during the holiday season, and if you find yourself sneezing with a runny nose and itchy eyes once the tree is up, it’s very possible that you might have a case of “Christmas Tree Syndrome”….aka an allergy to pine or mold.

What are the symptoms of Christmas Tree Syndrome?

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

What Causes Christmas Tree Syndrome?

Christmas Tree Syndrome is an allergic reaction to your Christmas Tree. Now you might be thinking that can’t be because you have an artificial tree, however, both live and artificial trees can cause Christmas Tree Syndrome, although it is more prevalent in natural trees.  The symptoms of Christmas Tree Syndrome could be caused by a variety of factors from the smell of the tree to the resin or molds of the tree that naturally occur on Christmas Trees. Researchers at the State University of New York found that 70 percent of the molds found on live Christmas trees can cause severe asthma attacks, fatigue, sinus congestion and more.

How Can You Prevent Christmas Tree Syndrome

The good news is that the effects of Christmas tree syndrome can be prevented by limiting exposure to the allergens found on the trees. Here are some tips for preventing Christmas tree syndrome and keeping your Holidays Merry and Bright!

Live Trees:

  • Wear gloves and long sleeves when bringing the tree indoors to keep sap from touching your skin.
  • Wear a mask if you have asthma or are vulnerable to dust and pollen
  • Shake out your Christmas tree or blow it with a leaf blower, then spray off the tree and its branches with water before bringing it into your house to help remove pollen and mold.
  • Sit the tree stump in a bucket of water and let it dry outside for a few days to prevent mold from growing.
  • Families with severe allergies should avoid putting up a live tree in their homes. However, if you just can’t resist the holiday spirit and must purchase a live tree, leave the tree up for no more than a week.

Artificial Trees:

  • Be sure to store your artificial tree properly during the off season – wrap the tree securely, store in a cool and dry place and avoid storing in places that accumulate dust and dirt.
  • Wipe down the tree before putting it up in your home.
  • Wipe down any ornaments before decorating the tree.
  • Go easy on the spray snow to frost your windows — any aerosol chemical can cause irritant reactions in the eyes, nose or lungs.

Don’t leave your Christmas tree up after the holidays. We know it can be a lot of work to take down, but it’s worth it so that you can reduce the chances of your tree building up mold spores and other allergens.

AFC Danbury is here for YOU!

If you think that you are suffering from Christmas Tree Syndrome stop in and see us at AFC Danbury at any of our convenient locations. We can help determine whether it’s your tree that’s making you ill or if there’s a more serious reason for some of those symptoms, like a cold or the flu. (And we can treat that too). We are located at 2 Main Street, 100 Mill Plain Road, and our newest location at 76c Newtown Road. All our locations are open 7 days a week and ready to treat you. We accept most insurances!