Allergy season is long gone for most, but as we get into winter, a new season of festive sneezing is starting. Many people are allergic to their Christmas trees each year, and have to suffer the constant drip and horrible stuffiness that can come with keeping a real tree indoors for the holidays.
How does it happen? Real Christmas trees bring extra magic into a room at holiday time with the wafting smell of fresh pine and thousands upon thousands of needles meddling their way into your carpet.
But they can also be host to microscopic mold spores that co-mingle with the breathing environment and decrease the indoor air quality of your home.
It can be a big deal.
A study done by a researcher in Connecticut and presented to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology in Dallas showed that after two weeks of being cooped up inside, a real Christmas tree emits spores that cause the indoor mold level to rise to up to 10 times the normal level found in a home.
If your nose hates it, here are some tips on surviving:
1) Get It Fresh
If you’re set on getting a real Christmas tree but it sends your nasal passages into fits, get it as fresh as possible, and preferably cut your own.
According to reports, Christmas trees that are cut way before they are going to be used for decoration, (like in August), are commonly kept in cramped, damp locations, where mold spores can multiply more readily. Cut your own, and hose it down before bringing it inside to limit spores.
2) Stick to 12 Days
If you get a real tree, stick to the traditional twelve days of Christmas for hosting in your living room, to limit your exposure time.
3) Give the Bottom a Bath
Ok- this has nothing to do with giving a tree a bath. But if your tree does make you want to attack it you’re sneezing and wheezing so badly, then the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) recommends that you wipe the tree trunk thoroughly with a solution of luke warm water and diluted bleach (1 part bleach to 20 parts water) to eliminate any mold that may be on it.
4) Look for Yellow and Blast Away
The AAFA also warns allergy sufferers that some evergreens- in particular junipers and cedar trees- could be pollinating even in winter months. To spot pollen, look for a yellowish tinge on the tree’s trunk and on its needles, and use a leaf blower in an open space outdoors to blast away any offending grains that may be perched, waiting on innocent branches.
5) Fake Trees Are Good But Beware Of Dust
In order to avoid the whole mold/pollen ordeal, you may want to go with a fake one and call it a day.
Avoid irritants like spray-on snow and artificial pine scent and you’re set.
If you find these tricks don’t solve the problem completely, consider taking anti-histamines, or giving this crazy stuff a try.