Experts: Christmas tree may be triggering allergies in unexpected ways


OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – ‘Tis the season for sneezin?

You may be experiencing allergies right now unlike any holiday season in the past and they could be from the same tree and decorations you use every year!

A so-called “Christmas Tree Syndrome” could have serious impacts it could have on your health.

Experts say often it’s not the tree itself but what’s on it that can send you into a sneezing frenzy.

“So you have mold spores that are on there, dust mites that are on there or even other pollens that are kind of tracked on the trees and then bringing that into your home causes the problem,” said Maya Garfeh, with the Oklahoma Allergy and Asthma Clinic.

Garfeh treats patients for Christmas-tree related allergies every year.

She says the problem is not exclusive to real trees; your artificial tree can cause just as many problems.

“Your fake tree that you store in the attic all year long is sitting in an area that’s probably pretty moldy, probably a little dusty so that brings all of that right to the center of your home where you’re breathing it in,” she said.

That can have serious consequences.

Researchers at State University of New York found 70% of mold found on trees can lead to complications from sinus congestion to severe asthma attacks.

But your allergies don’t have to be the Grinch that steals all your Christmas joy.

There are a few things you can do to help.

“If you’re buying a real tree, having them – at the Christmas tree farm – shake it off a little bit,” said Garfeh. “If possible, washing it off.”

You can do the same with your artificial trees, wreaths, and ornaments.

“That would be helpful for someone, they know they’re really dust mite allergic,” Garfeh said. 

Scented candles, diffusers and wax melts can trigger your allergies as well.

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