Do your allergies get worse around the holidays? Your Christmas tree may be to blame. Both real and artificial Christmas trees can cause allergy and asthma flare-ups. Real trees, regardless of type, can collect allergens and spores prior to being cut down. When they are cut down, they’re sprayed down with water, bundled, and packed for delivery to a tree seller. Unfortunately, this process allows mold to grow along the way.
Artificial trees may trigger asthma and allergy episodes as well. When unpacked, new trees can release chemicals into the air. Older trees may gather dust from being in storage all year. Packing and storing artificial Christmas trees in airtight containers can help reduce the amount of dust that collects.
There are a few steps you can take to minimize the risk of an asthma flare-up related to your Christmas tree:
1. Real or artificial, air out your tree before you set it up inside.
2. Try to wait until December to put up your tree. Mold starts to grow rapidly after a week inside the home.
3. Spraying your real tree with a half water, half vinegar solution can help cut down mold.
4. Wipe down your artificial tree (and other decorations) with a damp cloth to remove dust and allergens.
5. You can wear a face mask when setting up and taking down your tree and decorations can reduce the risk of a flare-up.
6. After disposing or packing your tree up, make sure to thoroughly vacuum and dust the area.
7. Make sure you have your asthma medications handy just in case you do have an asthma flare-up.