A Christmas tree can bring more with it into your home than pure holiday joy. Any time you bring a live Christmas tree inside, there's the chance that it's carrying tree mold that can trigger symptoms in those who suffer from allergies, asthma and other respiratory issues. How do you know whether you have a Christmas tree allergy or mold is to blame? We've got all the information you need to diagnose and prevent what's otherwise known as "Christmas tree syndrome."
CHRISTMAS TREE ALLERGIES
Real Christmas trees have the potential to trigger allergies, but it may not be the tree itself that's doing it. Symptoms of Christmas tree syndrome include, but aren't limited to:
- Runny nose and/or nasal congestion
- Eye, nose and throat irritation
- Wheezing/difficulty breathing
Before you chuck your live tree for an artificial model because you think you have a Christmas tree allergy, consider the fact that the same symptoms occur when you're exposed to mold.
CHRISTMAS TREE MOLD
Both artificial and real trees can cause allergies due to pollen and other contaminants that cling to them. If artificial trees are not stored properly, dust can become a real problem. Real trees, on the other hand, are especially at risk for bringing allergens into the home. From the tree farm to sales lot, real Christmas trees spend the majority of their lives outdoors. When brought home for the holidays, they can bring pollen, dust and other contaminants with them. They also can bring tree mold. Since trees are often harvested weeks before the Christmas season, real trees often stand in moist holding areas – hydration helps keep the tree looking fresh. This continued exposure to moisture can cause also cause tree mold to develop. Mold spores can spread easily as you carry the tree into your house and move braches around during decorating. This exposure puts you and your family at risk for the health issues typically associated with mold. Researchers from St. Vincent's Medical Center in Connecticut have discovered that a fresh Christmas tree can raise the mold level in a room by as much as five times their normal levels. These increased levels can cause allergy symptoms and trigger asthma. The longer you have a fresh tree in your home, the higher your risk for developing Christmas tree allergy symptoms.
PREVENT CHRISTMAS TREE SYNDROME
To reduce the presence of Christmas tree mold and other allergens in your home, thoroughly shake your tree before bringing it inside if your local tree farm doesn’t provide this service. Handle your tree as little as possible and consider waiting to purchase one until later in the season. Keep a real tree up and decorated for no more than a week to limit allergen exposure. The other option is to choose a well-maintained artificial tree, or buy a live, potted tree that you can plant after the season is over to relive your Christmas memories for years to come.
OTHER MOLD ISSUES
If allergy symptoms don't clear up after a Christmas tree has been removed from your home, there may be other mold issues lurking. Contact the mold remediation professionals at ServiceMaster Restore if you notice signs of mold or continue to experience symptoms which may be related to mold exposure. We have the expertise and equipment to inspect your home thoroughly and customize a plan that will safely treat and eliminate a mold problem of any size, at any time of year. Our ServiceMaster teams offer complete mold remediation services 24/7/365 to stop mold where it starts and keep it from interrupting your holiday – or any day.