Christmas Tree Syndrome
During Christmas time, many people experience respiratory allergies known as “Christmas Tree Syndrome” with symptoms similar to hay fever (itchy eyes, coughing and chest pains). These allergies are triggered by mould growth and pollen on the Christmas tree. The impact can be mild to severe, and is particularly dangerous for those with existing allergies or asthma.
To help keep your allergies under control this Christmas:
- Consider increasing or starting preventative medication prior to putting up your tree.
- Put up your Christmas tree later in the festive period to help reduce the severity of your allergies.
- If you have severe allergies, consider placing the tree outside, where it can be viewed from indoors.
- If you are placing your tree indoors, choose a cold area such as a porch (mould thrives in warm environments like your cosy sitting room!)
- Hosing down your tree will remove some (but not all!) of the allergens.
- Minimise your exposure to the allergens by asking someone else to decorate the tree.
- Use an air purifier tested and approved by Allergy UK to remove allergens from the air.
Artificial Christmas trees are a good alternative to real trees for those living with allergy. However, you should wipe down the tree and decorations with a damp cloth to remove the layer of dust and mould that accumulates during storage.
After Christmas, you should store your tree in plastic rather than cardboard. This will reduce mould and dust building up over the next year.
Finally, check that you have enough stock of your allergy medication! Take into account the Christmas closing hours for GP and pharmacies and ensure you are well-prepared.