Fall is over. Ragweed has died down, but that doesn’t mean the allergies have. The wonder of Christmas can carry a few negatives including Christmas tree allergens. If you have felt your allergy symptoms ramp up since you set up your tree, there are a few things to consider when picking a tree in the future. Both real and fake trees have pros and cons. Here’s a quick review:
Trees can emit airborne pollens. These pollens may come from the tree itself or from other trees that have “shed” their pollens onto your tree’s branches. Pine trees are also well-known hosts for molds. If you feel excessive fatigue or respiratory symptoms, you may have “Christmas tree syndrome” caused by allergies to pine tree molds.
To lessen the effects of these allergens, see if the Christmas tree lot you choose to purchase from can “de-allergize” your tree. This may involve shaking the tree with a mechanical shaker, blowing it with a leaf blower, or spraying it down with water or even a bleach solution to neutralize molds.
Also, wear gloves when touching the tree to avoid contact with “terpene” found in the sap of the tree. Terpene can cause allergic skin reactions.
Fake trees don’t produce pollens, it’s true, but they can become coated with them when they are stored in the attic or basement. They can also accumulate molds if they are stored in humid areas. To minimize this build-up, give your tree a good, powerful wash before you set it up indoors (and store it in airtight containers throughout the rest of the year).
You can try setting your tree up outside (on the porch) or in a bedroom of a home you don’t spend much time in. You can also limit the time the tree is up (maybe just a week or so before the holiday). For a fresh, new look, check the web for environmentally friendly trees. You’ll see a host of great alternatives to the standard tree including wood-frame trees decorated with kids’ art, comic book pages and more. They have a lot of personality and won’t
make you feel miserable.