Your Christmas tree could be making you 'sick'

An expert shares tips on how to reduce tree-related allergies.

Is your beautiful, freshly-picked Christmas tree the source of a newly-developed allergy?

It’s possible.

Christmas trees are cut down and usually stored in a cool damp area, a ripe environment for mould to develop.

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The trees also pick up particles like dust and pollen when they are outside, and all of that comes indoors with your tree.

“Most individuals think it's the pine pollen from the trees that causes the problem," explains Allergist and Clinical Immunologist Susan Waserman of McMaster University.

“But really that isn’t the case. Most of the time these Christmas trees have been contaminated with moulds or pollens. Both of those are probably more of a problem, with mould being the main one.”

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Can you avoid these allergens with a fake tree? It depends on how clean you keep that fake tree.

“People usually store them in damp areas where they are in plastic casings,” Susan says, and this could help mould grow, even on a fake tree.

“There is no question that over the course of the year, even a fake tree can become contaminated.”

Visit our Complete Guide to Winter 2023-24 for an in depth look at the Winter Forecast and tips to plan for everything ahead!


Susan provided us with a list of solutions:

  • Make an effort to wash your real tree before bringing it inside. And give it a good shake to release any allergens it may be holding.

  • Ensure there is no mould or dust build-up on your artificial tree.

  • A fake tree needs to be properly sealed and stored in a dry place.

  • Medicate yourself. “ We now have excellent treatments for both allergic rhinitis and asthma. Use them liberally, especially around the holidays if you need them if you do have a real tree allergy,” Susan says.

For more detailed information on how Christmas tree allergies develop, watch the video above.

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Thumbnail image courtesy: Videoblocks.