Could it be that something as seemingly innocuous as a Christmas tree could be making you sick? If your allergy symptoms have been increasing since you first set it up, the answer may be yes. Neither fake nor real trees are immune. Artificial trees can pick up mold and dust from storage throughout the
year. Real trees can bring outside pollens into your home as well as molds that are common to pine trees. They can also contain resins (found in tree sap) that are notorious for causing allergies.
Don’t despair, though. There are ways to keep the tree and feel good, too. Here are a few suggestions.
- Spray down fake trees with water before bringing them inside for the holiday. After the holiday, store them in airtight bags or bins to keep allergens away.
- Many fake trees are made of PVC. Avoid them if you are prone to respiratory allergies. There are other options made of materials like polyethylene that will be easier on your airways.
- If you are in the market for a real tree, see if the vendor can work with you. Often times, they have a machine to shake off allergens. They may also be able to “power wash” it.
- Wear gloves when touching real trees. Tree sap can contain allergens that cause skin reactions such as a rash.
- Consider a less-allergenic real alternative to a pine tree (fir, spruce, or cypress).
- Check Pinterest for a panoply of tree options made out of alternative materials (soda containers, books, plywood, and more).
And if allergies are having a negative effect on your life for more than a few months of the year, talk to the Family Allergy Clinic about under-the-tongue allergy drops-a safer, more user-friendly alternative to shots.