Protecting yourself from Christmas tree allergies - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Protecting yourself from Christmas tree allergies

Posted: Updated:

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) Their size, shape, color and, of course, their distinct smell are the first things that come to mind when picking the perfect Christmas tree. But those beautiful Christmas icons can also contain allergens that will leave you sneezing this holiday season.

"The first issue is the tree itself, even though they've been cut and it is winter, they still have pollen probably with certain trees," said Dr. Dennis Rhoades of Doctors Care. "But, on top of that the trees can have mold associated with them because they've been in damp environments, been watered and outside so you're bringing a source of mold inside as well."

Christmas trees spend the majority of their lives in the outdoors until they are uprooted to be sold and brought home. The trees are often harvested for purchase well in advance of Christmas and stored in moist holding areas, vulnerable to grow mold, according to the American Christmas Tree Association.

While the tree's beauty is in plain sight, the mold can be microscopic and often times unnoticeable. "Especially with Christmas trees, the types of evergreens, their needles' positions make it hard to examine if there is mold," Dr. Rhoades explained.

Allergic reactions can cause itchy eyes, a runny nose, scratchy throat or even wheezing and difficulty breathing. Molds can even trigger Asthma for those with the condition. The effects allergies have on your body also make you more prone to contracting viruses, Dr. Rhoades said.

"So one of the big issues is if you do have allergies to mold or significant allergy problems, should you even consider a real tree?" Dr. Rhoades questioned.

If you cannot imagine the holidays without a real spruce in your living room there are ways to protect yourself from severe effects.

Taking over the counter allergy medicines before bringing the tree home can lower the chances of severe problems, Dr. Rhoades suggested.

"Over the counter products are good for allergies, if they aren't working they have inhalants or nasal sprays and steroids that can help people out," Dr. Rhoades said.

Hosing the tree down with water before taking it into your home and waiting for it to dry before bringing it inside can also help reduce effects of tree-related allergies, according to the American Christmas Tree Association.

If the thought of fighting allergies is enough to make you sick, artificial Christmas trees may be the better alternative. Artificial trees that are stored properly, safe from collecting dust or growing mold, can help you enjoy a sneeze free holiday season.

"We recommend artificial trees, no issues with mold, unless of course your tree is old, stored in your attic several years and bringing in the dust element," Dr. Rhoades explained.

Copyright 2012 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Hebert Family speaks out about deadly explosion at Omega Protein

    Hebert Family speaks out about deadly explosion at Omega Protein

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 6:55 AM EDT2014-07-29 10:55:14 GMT
    Christopher Hebert was killed in an accident at Omega Protein's Moss Point plant in 2012. Hebert's loved ones said they are heartbroken to hear of another life lost.More >>
    In 2012, Christopher Hebert was killed when he was caught in a rotating screw conveyor at Omega Protein's Moss Point plant. Hebert's loved ones said they are heartbroken to hear another family is having to deal with losing a loved one because of something that happened at the plant.
    More >>
  • Woman, 2 children killed in Leake County ATV accident

    Toddler involved in fatal Leake County ATV accident expected to recover

    Monday, July 28 2014 7:08 PM EDT2014-07-28 23:08:07 GMT
    Two-year-old Alicia Hernandez is currently at Blair E. Batson hospital in Jackson recovering from an ATV accident that killed her mother, brother and a cousin. "My Aunt Lucy Hernandez, her second oldestMore >>
    Sarah Eichelberger, of Baton Rouge, was driving her 2009 Acura car when she collided with Lucy Hernandez's Honda ATV.
    More >>
  • Suspect's death takes a toll on authorities

    Suspect's death takes a toll on authorities

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 6:53 AM EDT2014-07-29 10:53:12 GMT
    The D'Iberville man who was pulled from the Tchoutacabouffa River this weekend drowned, according to Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove. Monday, an autopsy was completed on James King. Authorities sayMore >>
    The D'Iberville man who was pulled from the Tchoutacabouffa River this weekend drowned, according to Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove. Monday, an autopsy was completed on James King. Authorities say the 21-year-old jumped into the river Saturday while running away from police. It's the kind of tragedy first responders admit always takes a toll on them.More >>
Powered by WorldNow

208 DeBuys Road
Biloxi, MS 39531
(228) 896-1313

FCC Public File
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WLOX. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.