Christmas is a time for family, friends, and fun. But for some people, it’s also a time for allergies. Believe it or not, you can be allergic to Christmas trees! In this blog post, we will discuss the symptoms of Christmas tree allergies and how to treat them. We will also provide tips on how to avoid them in the first place. So if you’re feeling under the weather during the holidays, don’t worry – you’re not alone!
Can You Be Allergic To A Christmas Tree?
Christmas tree syndrome is a real thing. It can reduce the enjoyment of the holiday season for members of your family who are susceptible to allergies. But there are measures you can take to reduce or stop the suffering.
How To Tell If Your Allergic To Christmas Trees
If you’re feeling festive but sneezy, it might be time to consider whether your Christmas tree is the cause. Here are a few tell-tale signs that you may be allergic to your Christmas tree:
- You sneeze more often when you’re around your Christmas tree.
- You have a runny nose, itchy eyes, or other allergy symptoms when you’re around your Christmas tree.
- Your symptoms get worse when you’re around real trees, but not artificial ones.
If any of these sound familiar, it’s worth considering whether your Christmas tree is the source of your allergies. If so, there are a few things you can do to minimize your symptoms:
- Keep your tree clean. Dust and pollen can build up on your tree, so be sure to give it a good dusting before putting it up.
- Keep your tree well-watered. A dry tree is more likely to release pollen into the air.
- Don’t bring your tree inside until you’re ready to put it up. The longer it stays outside, the less time it has to release pollen into your home.
With a little bit of care, you can enjoy your Christmas tree without suffering from allergies!
Fraser Fir Christmas Tree Allergy
If you’re one of the millions of Americans who suffer from seasonal allergies, you may have noticed your symptoms becoming worse around Christmastime. And if you start sneezing and wheezing as soon as you walk into a certain someone’s house during the holidays, it might not be their overzealous cleaning that’s to blame.
Fraser fir trees are a popular Christmas tree, but they can also be a major trigger for people with seasonal allergies. Their tree pollens are very fine and light, making it easy to become airborne and travel long distances. And because Fraser firs tend to retain their needles longer than other types of Christmas trees, they can release pollen into the air for weeks or even months after being cut down.
So what can you do if a Fraser fir is the only thing standing between you and a happy holiday season? Here are a few tips:
- If possible, try to stay away from houses that have Fraser firs as their Christmas tree. If you must go inside, try to limit your time there and make sure to take your allergy medication with you.
- If you’re decorating your own tree, consider using an artificial one instead. Or, if you’re set on a real tree, opt for a different variety such as Douglas Fir or Scotch Pine. Neither of these varieties produces pollen in winter.
- Keep your windows closed and run an air purifier in your home to help trap pollen particles before they can cause any problems.
- Vacuum regularly and dust with a damp cloth to remove any pollen that’s made its way into your house.
With a little bit of planning and preparation, you can still enjoy all the festive fun of the holiday season without letting your allergies ruin the fun.
Pine Tree Allergy
If you’re one of the unlucky few who suffers from pine tree allergies, you know how difficult it is to avoid this pesky allergen. Pine trees are prevalent in many parts of the country, which means that if you’re allergic to pine pollen, you could be at risk for reactions, you can’t be near these trees.
A Scotch Pine would be a good choice if someone in your family suffers from this allergy. The scotch pine is a hypoallergenic Christmas tree. Even if you don’t have a Christmas tree in your home, you’re still at risk if you go outside during the holidays.
So what can you do if you think you might be allergic to pine pollen? The first step is to see an allergy specialist, who can help you determine whether or not you’re allergic to pine trees. If you are, they’ll work with you to develop a treatment plan that can help lessen your symptoms and make it easier for you to enjoy the outdoors during allergy season.
In the meantime, there are a few things you can do to try to reduce your exposure to pine pollen:
- Stay indoors as much as possible when pollen levels are high
- Wear a dust mask or respirator if you have to be outside
- Keep windows and doors closed at home and in your car
- Shower and change clothes after being outside
Pine tree allergies can be difficult to deal with, but they don’t have to ruin your holiday season. With proper precautions, you can enjoy all the festivities without worry.
Causes Of Christmas Tree Syndrome
- Mold needs to live in a warm area with low light, oxygen, and lots of moisture. It releases spores to reproduce, and these may cause an allergic reaction. The warm environment of our home during winter is perfect for them. Some purchased real trees have been cut down weeks before and may have already accumulated mold.
- Dust mites are everywhere and their presence is multiplied when the air is damp, for example, in a basement.
- Insect droppings can exist anywhere, including in your Christmas tree, and may cause a reaction in allergy sufferers.
- Terpenes are hydrocarbons formed from plants, mainly conifers, which may cause an allergic reaction. Terpenes bring the color and smell of plants to commercially manufactured products, such as fragrances, essential oils, and cleaning compounds. Have a close look at the labeling of these sorts of products if anyone in your family suffers from allergies.
- Fir tree allergy, also known as Rosin Allergy, is a result of coming into contact with the sap of a spruce or fir tree. Rosin is a sticky substance that is used in commercial products, such as paint, cosmetics, and even chewing gum.
- Pine pollen allergies are triggered when the pollen is produced in the spring. If you’re affected by an allergy to grass pollen, you may also be affected by pine pollen.
- Some chemicals applied to the trees on a farm, such as weed killer, may cause an allergic reaction.
As you can see, having a Christmas tree in your home may cause allergies for some members of your family. (Who knew that a beautiful, atmospheric tree could have such an effect?)
Do Christmas Trees Have Pollen?
The short answer is yes, Christmas trees have pollen. But the tree doesn’t produce this allergen itself. Instead, pollen from other trees and plants can stick to its needles and be transferred to your home. The longer a tree sits outside, the more likely it is to collect pollen and other allergens. You can also ask your florist or Christmas tree farm if they treat their trees with any chemicals that could cause an allergic reaction.
This is especially true if the tree is brought inside a few days before Christmas. To avoid this problem, try to buy a tree that was cut as close to Christmas as possible. And if you’re really allergic, consider an artificial tree.
Finally, if you’re really worried about having an allergic reaction to a Christmas tree, you can always opt for an artificial tree. These trees are generally made from materials that don’t contain any proteins or allergens, so they’re safe for everyone to enjoy. They may not be as festive, but they’ll definitely be less of a sneeze-fest.
Are you Allergic To Artificial Christmas Trees?
It seems a bit surprising that a person can be allergic to a fake Christmas tree, but your beautiful decorated tree may harbor dust and mold, or insect droppings. Any objects in your house can give shelter to these creatures and their droppings, but a tree that has been stored in a damp basement without protection will make a great home for them.
Christmas Tree Allergy Symptoms
The symptoms of Christmas tree allergy are similar to symptoms of hay fever and it may take some time to form an allergy. Symptoms include:
- Itchy eyes
- Watery eyes
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Trouble breathing
- If a reaction is severe, seek medical attention immediately.
Can Dogs Be Allergic To Christmas Trees?
A dog allergic reaction to your Christmas tree is not unheard of. They are living breathing animals like us and can be susceptible to allergies just like us. If you have a dog, following our allergy prevention tips below will allow your best friend to have a peaceful Christmas.
Real Christmas Trees And Asthma
The increased mold spore count in your house during the holiday season can lead to an added chance of asthma.
- If you have a live tree, keeping it inside for only 3 or 4 days could be the answer.
- Or if you really want a real tree, why not set it up outside in a sheltered spot in front of a conveniently placed window?
- A fake tree might be a good alternative, but this can have its own problems. As long as it is stored and maintained correctly, it could provide an allergy-free Christmas.
The Best Real Christmas Tree For Allergies
The least allergenic Christmas tree is the Leyland Cypress. It does not produce any pollen because it is a sterile hybrid. We can thank the Leyland family for creating a non-allergenic Christmas tree.
The Leyland Cypress is a deep green and has attractive feathery foliage. It grows in zones 6 to 10, which covers the lower half of the USA.
Leyland Cypress trees are a popular choice for Christmas trees because they’re so easy to care for. They don’t need much water and they’re not picky about soil, which makes them ideal for people who don’t have a lot of time to take care of their Christmas tree.
The National Christmas Tree Association has lots of great information about Christmas tree choices.
Can You Be Allergic To An Artificial Christmas Tree?
It is possible to be allergic to an artificial Christmas tree. The chemical compounds used to make the tree, such as PVC, can give off fumes that can cause respiratory problems.
- If you are considering an artificial tree, look for one that is made of polyethylene. This material is less likely to cause an allergic reaction.
- When setting up your tree, be sure to do so in a well-ventilated area. Open all the windows and doors in the room to let fresh air circulate. If you start feeling dizzy or lightheaded, leave the room and get some fresh air immediately.
By taking these precautions, you can help prevent an asthma attack this holiday season.
How To Prevent Christmas Tree Allergies
Here are some tips to reduce the risk of allergies:
Christmas Ornaments And Other Holiday Decorations
- Store your ornaments wrapped in paper inside sealable plastic containers off the floor.
- If it’s practical, unpack your ornaments in an outside area.
- Give your ornaments and Christmas lights a wipe before putting them up to ensure they are dust free.
- When packing your ornaments away, don’t use the same dusty paper.
Live Christmas Trees
- Seek professional medical advice well before the holiday season. A nasal spray or antihistamines may be prescribed by your doctor.
- Run an air purifier in the same room as the tree; this should reduce some exposure to mold spores.
- Ensure that the tree has been cut down in the last week.
- Check the labels of all products used on the trees on a farm before purchasing them.
- Don’t bring the tree into the house until you’re ready to put it up.
- Keep the tree outside for as long as possible.
- Choose a place for your tree in a well-ventilated room away from any furnaces or fireplaces.
Before bringing your tree inside:
- Wearing a face mask and gloves, give the tree a good shake to get rid of loose mold and pollens.
- You could use a leaf blower to dislodge pollens, also while wearing a mask and gloves.
- If you’re bringing your tree home from a Christmas tree farm, the trip on top of the car should hopefully remove most pollens.
- Give the tree a good wash with the hose on a sunny day. Leave it outside to dry. Make sure it’s completely dry before bringing it inside. Mold loves damp areas.
- If you do not have any pets, spraying a mixture of bleach and water onto the tree will get rid of mold and terpenes. But if you have an inquisitive dog or cat, they may ingest this mixture, so this tip is not advisable.
If allergies are a big problem in your home, consider having the tree inside for a limited time.
Artificial Christmas Tree
Careful storage of artificial trees can prevent all the little extras in your tree.
- A tree that is made of polyethylene (PE) has less off-gassing.
- The big tip for your fake tree is careful storage. It needs to be stored in a dry place in a sealed bag or a box off the floor.
- Set yourself a reminder every few months to check if any creatures have found a way into your tree.
- As you’re putting the tree up, give each branch a gentle wipe with a dry cloth.
While we hope these tips help, there is no guarantee that they will prevent an allergic reaction. If someone in your family does suffer from allergies, take precautions and maybe consider another type of decoration this year! There are many beautiful options available that won’t trigger allergies, such as lights, garlands, and wreaths.
Ask your doctor for advice and have a happy, healthy holiday season!
Christmas memories can be happy or less than happy. With a bit of planning and effort, you can reduce the risk of holiday allergies.