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Clean the Christmas tree and keep it poison free

7 Dec. 2021 – Real and artificial trees can activate asthma and allergy flare up that makes the holiday a misery for some people.

Christmas tree allergies – caused by popular varieties such as spruce, hemlock, pine or spruce – are rare. But there are other allergens in the mixture that can cause humans.

This is because real trees often travel long distances to reach your local tree site. Before the trip, they are sprayed with water, which allows form to grow along the road, says J. Allen Meadows, MD, former president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology and an allergist at AllerVie Health in Alabama.

Artificial trees can meanwhile release nasty chemicals that cause allergies or asthma attacks just after they were turned out, Meadows says. Every year thereafter, they can accumulate dust in storage which also causes symptoms to flare up when unpacked. Packing everything away in bags and boxes that are as airy as possible can reduce dust but not eliminate it.

Prevention of symptoms

“Whether it’s artificial or a living tree, I like to air it outside before I set it up in my house,” says Meadows. A leaf blower is also handy for blowing mold or dusting the tree before bringing it indoors.

Timing also matters. If you can stand to erect a tree until after the first hard frost where you live, then you will not dare pollen or ambrosia that comes on the tree when you put it outside to air out, he says.

And with a real tree, you have to resist the urge to put it up just after Thanksgiving, says Sharmilee M. Nyenhuis, MD, an asthma, allergy and immunology specialist at the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System. This is because mold starts to build up after about a week in your home.

If you can not bear the thought of waiting until mid-December to put up a real tree, you might as well cut down the mold by spraying it with a solution of half water, half vinegar, she suggests. An vinegar solution can also remove form from false trees.

The same masks that people wore during the COVID-19 pandemic can also come in handy for setting up and decorating the tree, says Nyenhuis. Wearing a mask to unpack ornaments, set up and decorate the tree, and handle any other seasonal decorations you pick up from the store can help reduce symptom flares caused by mold and dust. .

And you can also take steps to prevent asthma and allergy attacks by working with your doctor to review and revise your medication as needed to address any exposure to mold or dust from the tree, Meadows says.

“The bottom line is that if your asthma and allergies are well controlled, you need to be able to tolerate places with living trees,” he says.

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