Sneezing or having a runny nose? Despite the cold weather, a Christmas tree might be to blame.
I’m not telling the joke. The merry Christmas tree in the corner of your living room can not only make you sneeze, but also lead to deadly asthma attacks, which is called Christmas tree syndrome.
What is Christmas tree syndrome?
Christmas tree syndrome doesn’t mean one is allergic to the Christmas tree itself. Instead, live Christmas trees harbor a variety of different types of mold, 70% of which can trigger severe asthma attacks and other respiratory problems.
One research team in New York found 53 different types of mold on 28 different Christmas tree clippings. And the mold spores in the air of the home might increase from 800 spores per cubic meter to 5,000 per cubic meter, 14 days after a Christmas tree is brought into the home.
But this doesn’t mean you have to give up a Christmas tree. There are ways for you to breathe easy with a tree.
How to prevent Christmas tree syndrome?
1. Don’t set up your tree too early.
Keep a live Christmas tree in the house for only about a week. This can lower your risk of developing Christmas tree syndrome.
“Around five to seven days would probably be a good amount of time to have a live Christmas tree up, since after seven days the mold count starts to increase exponentially,” said Dr. Sharmilee Nyenhuis, an allergist at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
2. Clean your tree
Before setting your tree up, clean it thoroughly outside the house. You can water the tree and wipe down the trunk of the tree with bleach to remove mold. Then, leave the tree outside for several days to let it dry.
In addition, you need to clean artificial trees and other decorations on the Christmas tree before bringing them into the house.
3. Store holiday decorations carefully
Mold loves the warm and damp environment. You’d better store all the holiday decorations in a cool and dry place, for example, a closet or a basement. Don’t keep them in a cardboard because pests love it. You definitely won’t be happy if you see roaches on your tree.
Just be aware of the existence of Christmas tree syndrome and prepare for any allergic reactions you may have. You can be safe and enjoy the greatest time of year!