Powerful allergens hiding in our trees could cause ‘Christmas Tree Syndrome’

No, it’s not an extreme fear of festive decorations and Santa Claus! – ‘Christmas Tree Syndrome’ is in fact a common allergy to a variety of airborne allergens that can get lodged in your Christmas tree. And if your tree isn’t to blame for you or your child’s seasonal sneezes, it could be your pet or lots of dust hanging about in your home at Christmas that’s triggering your symptoms…

Decorating the Christmas tree is usually a fun, family occasion, making the beginning of the festive season in December. But if you’re unlucky to be suffering from ‘Christmas Tree Syndrome’, tree decorating will be the last thing on your list of priorities.  A team of scientists from Upstate Medical University analysed clippings from 28 Christmas trees including needles and bark, from a range of species, and found that they housed an unbelievable 53 different types of mould! [1] Plus pollen from other trees also gets lodged in the bark. All these allergens combined can provide a powerful trigger for those who are sensitive. Even artificial trees can harbour dust which may trigger a reaction.

If your Christmas tree doesn’t get you, you could still end up with the sneezes and sniffles, if you’re sensitive to pet or dust allergens. This happens because we spend a lot more time indoors exposed to these allergens at this time of year.

Airborne allergens expert and creator of the HayMax allergen barrier balm, Max Wiseberg has some useful suggestions to help sufferers of Christmas Tree Syndrome as well as pet and dust allergies…

• “Hose down your tree before taking it into the house, or after getting it out of storage, as this can help remove some of the mould and spores – though it’s probably best to get someone who isn’t allergic to do this!”

• “Take care when you’re decorating your tree, or get someone else to, as allergens will be disturbed as you move the tree into position and move the branches to hang the decorations and position the lights.”

• “Put your tree up as late as possible to help minimise the risk of exposure to mould.”

• “Regularly apply an allergen barrier balm such as HayMax (www.haymax.biz) around your or your child’s nostrils to help stop the allergens getting up your nose. HayMax organic, drug-free allergen barrier balms are suitable for children and pregnant and breast-feeding women and has been proven in independent studies to trap both indoor and outdoor airborne allergens from entering the body [2]. If this keeps a sufferer below their trigger level, they will have no allergic reaction.”

• “Use an air purifier to help clear the air of mould particles.”

• “Damp dust and vacuum regularly.”

• “Keep cuddly toys and blankets in a cupboard to prevent the build-up of allergens on them.”

• “Keep animals clean and well groomed, to reduce allergens from their fur. And keep them out of your bedroom.”