Whether your allergy symptoms are mild or severe, the holiday season isn't the time when you want your allergies to flare. But if you rank among the unlucky number of people who are allergic to Christmas trees, you may wonder exactly what it is about the festive evergreens that make you so miserable when the allergy symptoms kick in. You may also want to know what steps you can take to help keep your allergy symptoms at bay while you celebrate the season.
Mold and Pollen
You expose yourself to common allergens like mold and pollen when you bring a live Christmas tree indoors. Breathing in mold spores or dust particles that contain mold spores which become airborne can irritate your upper respiratory tract, triggering allergy symptoms that can include watery eyes, sneezing, stuffy or runny nose, cough, and itchy eyes and throat.
Even if you put up an artificial tree as an alternative, you still may suffer the same symptoms. Artificial trees aren't completely free of allergens, as they can have mold and dust too, especially if you don't store the tree in an airtight plastic container. The plastics that some artificial trees are made of release chemicals into the air that can also irritate your respiratory system once you remove the tree from its storage container.
Terpenes are other substances tha may be responsible for the allergic reaction you suffer to live Christmas trees. These natural, organic compounds found in pine trees are what give Christmas trees that fragrant scent. Unfortunately, the compound found in the sap and oil of pine trees can bring on incessant sneezing or even cause a skin rash. If you're sensitive to terpene, fresh-cut pine trees or evergreens used to make fresh wreaths and garlands can bring on unpleasant allergy symptoms.
How to Decrease Any Allergens Present
Clean the tree before bringing it into the house. Start by removing any loose debris and then use a leaf blower to get rid of some of the mold spores.
Another tip is to wash pollen and mold off the branches and trunk of the tree with a garden hose. While washing the tree won't remove all the allergens, it helps to reduce the number of allergens present. Wear long sleeves and gloves if you tend to get a skin rash when handling fresh evergreens. Allow the tree to dry outside before taking it indoors.
Remove an artificial tree from its storage container outside. Just the same as with a live tree, vacuum or wash the tree before bringing it indoors, trying not to get it too wet. Wipe the branches and trunk with a damp towel that you wet in a solution of warm water and a mild dish soap.
Treatment for Christmas Tree Allergy Symptoms
If a Christmas tree allergy makes you feel miserable during the holiday season, an over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamine may help relieve your symptoms. But when OTC medications aren't effective, a doctor, such as at Allergy Asthma & Immunology Associates may recommend taking a prescription medication to control your allergy symptoms.