🎵 Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree, why do you make me so itchy? 🎵
Do you find yourself changing the lyrics to your favorite holiday songs as you decorate your tree? Don’t worry. You’re not alone. In fact, what is known as “Christmas tree syndrome” is fairly prevalent.
As with every turn of the year, seasonal allergies are making their debut. Cooler temperatures and long-awaited get-togethers have us celebrating in close quarters with the windows shut and the heater cranked.
With assortments of seasonal foods to nibble and decor coming down from the attic, it’s hard to pinpoint what triggers your allergies. Many people start to feel the sniffles once the Christmas tree is up.
However, the cause of your Christmas tree allergies may surprise you. Many people assume they’re allergic to pine, fir, hemlock, or spruce trees. But, allergies to popular types of Christmas trees are uncommon. Instead, you’re probably sneezing and itching because of the dust and mold hidden within your tree’s branches.
With that being said, don’t think an artificial tree will cure your allergies either. Most people store their trees in stuffy garages and attics. This environment breeds the mold that makes so many of us itch.
But it’s not all bad news. If you’re suffering from Christmas tree syndrome, it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to cut back on decor. Instead, you may just need to rid your tree of its irritants.
Best Real Christmas Trees Options for Allergy Sufferers
There’s nothing like the experience of picking out your Christmas tree. Whether you’re taking a day trip to a Christmas tree farm or just down the street from your local nursery, it’s a joyous time.
As you walk through the maze of trees, you look in awe at the beauty of nature. Even better, the natural smell of Christmas is all around. If you weren’t already in the Christmas spirit, tree shopping has you wanting to pull out all the stops.
However, if your usual pine trees give you sinus issues year after year, then it’s time to consider another tree species. When tree shopping, consider purchasing a fir, spruce, or cypress. Specifically, Concolor fir (White fir), Leyland cypress, and Eastern white pine are favorites for those sensitive to tree scents. Keep in mind that if you are looking for a specific tree, it’s best to start your search early while options are plentiful.
Are you sneezing and itching with no clue what’s causing your allergies? If so, then it’s time for an allergy test. Schedule your appointment with Dr. Matorin today to get answers and finally find relief.
Shake It Out
Many Christmas tree sellers have machines that will give your tree a good shake. This helps to remove loose debris and at least some of the mold and dust.
Take advantage of this service if it’s available. Moreover, call around to make sure you go Christmas tree shopping where this service is provided.
Bathe Your Tree
There’s no telling what’s growing between the needles of your new tree. Once you get it home, hose it down really well. This will knock mold, pollen, and dirt from their hiding places. Then, leave it outside in the sunshine for a few days (if weather permits) or let it stand in an open space of your garage.
[Related: How to Travel Without Allergies]
Give It a Blowout
Pull out the leaf blower and put it to work blowing out all leftover debris, dust, and mold. This is a great option to use post tree bath, too!
Prevent Skin-to-Tree Contact
In case the sap and/or needles make you itch, avoid direct contact with your skin. Wear long sleeves, pants, socks, and even gloves while decorating your holiday masterpiece.
Before you sit on the couch to bask in your tree’s glory, change clothes and take a shower. You’ll want to wash your clothes to ensure allergens won’t spread throughout your home’s air and surfaces.
Invest in an Air Purifier
We’re not saying you need to spend hundreds on the best-reviewed air purifier. Even a small, inexpensive one will help. Just place it near the tree to catch allergens before they catch you.
However, follow the air purifier’s instructions and keep it a safe distance from the tree to avoid serious issues.
Choosing an Artificial Christmas Tree
If you think that an artificial tree will prevent Christmas tree syndrome, you’re sorely mistaken. In fact, your artificial tree may have more dust and mold than real trees.
Moreover, some brands make their artificial Christmas trees with materials known to cause sinus irritation. Research trees and look for one made without PVC or brominated flame retardants. Both of these materials are known for their adverse health effects.
Proper Storage Is Key
Does your artificial tree sit exposed in your attic, basement, or garage most of the year? While it may be too late this year, it’s important to store your tree in a cool, dry place. Furthermore, invest in a tree bag to keep bugs and dust from collecting.
Artificial Trees Need Cleaning, Too
Use your hose, leaf blower, and/or vacuum to give your artificial tree a good cleaning. However, be careful if your tree is pre-lit. Before taking a hose to your tree, make sure any included lights are weatherproof. Furthermore, do what you can to rid it of hidden dust and mold.
Manage Your Allergies & Take Control of Your Life
Whether allergies disrupt your quality of life year-round or just during certain seasons, there are steps you can take to find relief. Dr. Matorin’s Sinus & Allergy and Snoring & Sleep Centers can get to the root cause of your discomfort.
Once the culprit of your allergies and/or lack of sleep are located, Dr. Matorin can proceed with the best treatment option for your unique needs. Say goodbye to allergy symptoms this Christmas season and schedule your appointment today.