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Live Christmas trees can carry mold, cause allergic reactions

Posted at 5:04 PM, Dec 23, 2019

If you've started sneezing and coughing after bringing home a Christmas tree, you're not alone.

Allergists have been seeing more patients come in with allergy symptoms recently. They're calling it “Christmas Tree Syndrome.”

People often have a reaction to the mold that lives in the trees.

“What's more common is that some people are allergic to mold, and those molds can often be carried in the tree bark or the tree limb,” said Tonya Winders, President of the Allergy and Asthma Network. “So, when you bring it into your home, it exposes those that live in your home to the mold.”

There are a few things you can do before you bring home a tree.

First, make sure it doesn't have any visible mold. Also, shake as much debris off the tree as possible. And you may even want to rinse it with water by spraying it outside.

After bringing it in, make sure to change the water frequently.

It's not always the tree that's causing some sort of reaction. Allergy doctors say fragrances from trees, candles or other decorations can make us cough and sneeze.

We may also feel sick if we take out ornaments and decorations from storage. Doctors say in this case, it's probably not an allergic reaction. You should wipe the decorations down before you put them away.

Allergists say a sign that you may actually be sick with a cold or the flu is if these symptoms come on quick, and if you don't typically feel these symptoms around this time of year.