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Could I Be Allergic to my Christmas Tree?

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Updated December 13, 2009

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Question: Could I Be Allergic to my Christmas Tree?
Answer: Think your allergies and asthma get worse once you bring that fresh pine tree indoors during the holidays? It may be more than just your imagination. People for years have suspected that along with that fresh pine scent, an indoor freshly-cut Christmas tree worsened allergy symptoms, but the reason wasn't completely clear. Possibilities included pollen, mold spores, dust mites from dusty ornaments and other Christmas decorations and strong odors emitted from the Christmas tree.

A study on this subject appears to shed light on the issue: The problem is likely due to mold allergy. Researchers found that after 2 weeks of being indoors, a live Christmas tree in Connecticut emitted significant amounts of mold spores into the air. In fact, the amount of mold spores found in a home with a Christmas tree was nearly 10 times the amount of mold normally found inside. People who suffer from mold allergies may want to limit the amount of time a Christmas tree is kept indoors (such as less than 2 weeks), or consider using an artificial tree.

Learn more about avoiding holiday allergies.

Source:

Rockwell WJ, Santilli J. MOLD ALLERGY AND LIVE CHRISTMAS TREES. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2008; 100(s1):P59.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this site is for educational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for personal care by a licensed physician. Please see your physician for diagnosis and treatment of any concerning symptoms or medical condition.

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