Christmas tree making you sneeze? Here's how to put a stop to it

Woman decorating her Christmas tree.
Woman decorating her Christmas tree. Photo credit: Getty Images

Now December is in full swing, many people will have either put up their Christmas trees or are about to do so.

But if you begin sniffling and sneezing while adding baubles and tinsel to your real - or fake - tree this year, you may have 'Christmas Tree Syndrome' - an allergy to the pollen, dust and mould spores that are present in both real and artificial trees.

Previously, researchers at Upstate Medical University reported that moulds on clippings from conifers may be responsible for a jump in respiratory illnesses at the end of the year, with many of the moulds identified as being potential allergens that have been shown to increase the risk of wheeze, persistent cough, and allergic sensitisation in infants.

Though the so-called Christmas Tree Syndrome doesn't bother everyone, airborne allergens expert, Max Wiseberg, has some top tips for those who are susceptible.

Hose down your tree

Check with the nursery where you purchase your tree if they have a washing service, and if not, consider doing this at home with a garden hose. Allow the tree to dry before bringing it inside.

"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!" he advised.

Be careful when decorating

"Take care when you're decorating your tree, or get someone else to do it, as allergens will be disturbed as you move the tree into position and move the branches to hang the decorations and position the lights," said Wiseberg, noting that he recommends applying an organic allergen barrier balm such as HayMax around the nostrils to help stop the allergens getting inside the nose.

"Putting your tree up as late as possible can also help minimise the risk of exposure to mould."

Use an air purifier

A household air purifier located in the same room as the Christmas tree can help to remove allergens from the air.

"Keep animals clean and well-groomed, to reduce allergens from their fur. And keep them out of your bedroom," he added. "And keep cuddly toys and blankets in a cupboard to prevent the build-up of allergens on them."

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