'Christmas Tree Syndrome': Are You Allergic to Your Tree?
Stories about holiday safety abound at this time of year, but do we need to add Christmas tree syndrome to our long list of seasonal concerns? According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the answer for the 13 percent of Americans with a mold allergy is, “maybe.”
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America reports that allergy symptoms occurring over the course of multiple seasons may be related to mold or other fungi. But research connecting mold allergies to Christmas trees, which began in 1970, has been largely inconclusive.
According to a 2011 study conducted at the State University of New York Upstate Medical University in Syracuse and published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, clippings from 28 Christmas trees revealed 53 species of mold, 70 percent of which were potentially harmful.
If you’re concerned about Christmas tree syndrome, wash your tree before bringing it inside, don’t keep it up longer than necessary, and use an air purifier to reduce mold spore levels.