Christmas trees bring exciting surprises, like gifts you drop under them and the myriad ornaments they collect over the years. However, they can also bring a more pesky surprise: if you get a real tree for your living room, you may experience allergy symptoms as a result. Below, an allergist explains how to tell if you are allergic to your Christmas tree. Do not worry; there are a handful of things you can do to keep allergies from completely “eating up” your holiday season.
How to tell if you are allergic to your Christmas tree
“If soon after you plant the Christmas tree you start to have sneezes, asthma, hives, or any other allergic reaction, it’s the tree or whatever is on it,” said Heather Moday, DO, is a leading functional immunologist / physician and the author of The breakthrough of the immunotype. It goes without saying that you need to be careful when it comes to experiencing problems such as sinus congestion, headaches, sore throats, loss of taste or smell, fever and any more. common symptom of COVID-19. If these symptoms appear after you come in contact with your tree, allergies are possible. However, getting tested for COVID-19 helps rule out the virus and protect those around you.
That said, your tree might have residual pollen – picked up from other trees and weeds – from where it grew, says Dr Moday. There could also be microscopic mold spores on the branches. When trees are brought indoors, these pollen and mold allergens can be released into the air and cause reactions in those who might be susceptible. “It is rare to be allergic to the pollen of the pines and firs themselves. They simply act as carriers,” says Dr Moday.
Some people are sensitive to the sap or resin from contact with firs and pines and may develop an allergic reaction on their skin. A topical antihistamine cream can help soothe a rash that occurs after touching a tree. The best way to avoid this reaction is to avoid touching the tree. If decorating your tree is important to you, consider wearing long, thick sleeves, gloves if you have a rash from the tree, and a mask if you experience sinus symptoms.
What to do if you are allergic to your Christmas tree
If you experience allergies soon after setting up your tree or arriving at a family member’s home, you have several options. First of all, don’t touch the tree anymore and have someone else take gifts so that you can keep a distance. Plus, a HEPA air purifier could help reduce potential irritants in the air, says Dr. Moday. If symptoms are mild, antihistamines, nasal rinses, and corticosteroid nasal sprays should keep things at bay while the tree is there. If you experience breathing difficulties that worsen over a short period of time, you may have a more serious interaction and need to contact a provider or go to the emergency room.
Another problem can stem from your vacation decor, adds Dr. Moday. Artificial trees, decorations, tree skirts, and lights are often stored in dusty and moldy basements and attics, so they can also increase the burden of allergies. Try to shake up the decor on the outside when you start decorating. You can also allow the allergens to disperse further by leaving the decorations in a dry place in your garage for a few days before bringing them in, says Dr Moday. Make sure that the ornaments are kept in plastic containers and that all fabric decorations are washed before and after use.
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