Christmas tree allergies

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(KTVI)- Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree, how nasty are your branches? It’s true, at least for some people who suffer from Christmas tree syndrome.

Michael Borts, from SLUCare says its an allergists gift that keeps on giving.

People can have an allergic reaction to either the smell of live trees from the pine resin or the various molds found in live trees. Within just two weeks of bringing a live tree into a home, mold counts can significantly increase.

Christmas trees can trigger severe asthma attacks, fatigue, sinus congestion and more.

o    Live trees naturally carry microscopic mold spores that can trigger allergy symptoms. Allergic reactions can happen instantly or within the first two weeks of putting up a live tree

Tree sap contains terpene and other substances that can irritate skin and mucous membranes
Wear gloves and long sleeves when bringing the tree indoors to avoid sap touching your skin

o    Spray off the tree and its branches with water before bringing it into your house to help remove some of the pollen and mold (before this, you can also give it a good shake or a blast with a leaf blower)
§  Sit the tree stump in a bucket of water and let it dry outside for a few days to prevent mold from growing
o    Families with severe allergies should avoid purchasing a live tree
§  However, if they just can`t resist this holiday tradition, families should only have the live tree in their home for no more than seven days
·         For artificial trees:
o    Store them properly – 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 your ornaments too
Some of the materials used to make artificial trees can cause sinus irritation
Go easy on the spray snow to frost your windows – any aerosolized chemical can cause irritant reactions in the eyes, nose or lungs

Tips to Avoid a ‘Danger Tree’:

·         Make sure live trees are fresh (deep green, not brown); trunk should be sticky and wet with resin
·         Make sure a large number of needles don`t come loose when you tap the tree trunk on the ground
·         Artificial trees should have a ‘fire resistant’ label
·         Keep all trees away from heat sources like fireplaces and candles
·         Use lights tested for safety by nationally recognized testing labs
·         Do not burn wrapping paper in the fireplace. It could cause a flash fire

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