Christmas Tree Syndrome: Yes, it’s a thing! Is your tree making you sick?

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Christmas Tree Syndrome! Yes -- it's a thing! Could your Christmas tree be making you sick?

Research published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology show respiratory illnesses peak around Christmas.

If you’ve been sick every December and are a die-hard fan of the cherished evergreen, this consumer alert is for you.

Dr. Heather James -- an allergist at Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology Specialists in Huntsville, Alabama says she sees several patients this time of year who are dealing with symptoms consistent with "Christmas Tree Syndrome."

“People usually take a little time before they figure out that they are having issues and symptoms every time they bring the tree in,” said James.

These symptoms include runny noses, sneezing and itchy eyes -- so similar to cold symptoms that people often mistake Christmas Tree Syndrome for that.

Sometimes the reaction takes awhile to set in.

Within two weeks of bringing a live tree into a home, mold counts can rapidly rise.

Soon, you may suffer severe asthma attacks, fatigue and sinus congestion.

It's hard to believe that could all stem from a tree, but you won’t know if it’s the tree -- until you try something different.

Yes, that means trading in a live fir for an artificial tree.

“I have survived with my artificial tree for many years,” said James.

If you're determined to keep that real Christmas tree, consider washing it down and letting it dry before bringing it into your home.

CLICK HERE for more on Christmas Tree Syndrome via the American Christmas Tree Association.

1 Comment

  • Oolah

    Last night I was thinking I should get a real tree after I became sick after an hour and a half of fluffing up the branches on a brand new artificial xmas tree, right out of the box, and attaching new strings of lights. I bought both on sale at least five years ago at a post-holiday clearance, for future use, and stored the unopened boxes in the loft of our garage.

    Well the future is now, and I don’t know whether the reason I became dizzy, nauseated and sweaty, with skin tingling and pale a ghost was because artificial trees and lights are made in China. Apparently at one time they were made with PVC with inappropriate materials resulting in arsenic and lead dust, and perhaps outgassing of other nasty things. …or perhaps mold might have developed while I had the unopened boxes in storage.

    And now I can’t have a real Christmas tree either? I’m a positive person, but this is enough to bring out my inner Grinch.

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