Allergies at Christmas Time

So we come to the end of yet another year—you’ve managed to survive the spring tree allergies, a vacation at your spouse’s family home with their two cats, a rather rough ragweed season, and several sinus infections. Now, the weather is cold, the leaves have fallen, and allergies have hopefully flown south for the winter. So why are you all of a sudden suffering from tremendous allergy symptoms? Do you have a cold? What’s happening?

If you happened to recently cut a Christmas tree, it’s been shown that levels of mold that come from a Christmas tree within two weeks are five times the average level of mold spores expected in a home. An increase in mold is perceived within a day or two, but two weeks after you bring the tree home is the time when the levels of mold hit their peak.

Be mindful that the molds that live on Christmas trees might not be causing you allergies, even if there is an increase in mold spores. You could also be having a reaction to other Christmas decorations that you pulled up from the damp basement or down very a very dusty attic.

If you are experiencing unexplained allergies at this time of year, however, one thing is clear—you can take steps to reduce or eliminate those symptoms. If you suffer considerably from allergies, you probably already have a HEPA air filter. Running that in the room with your tree will go a long way to reduce mold spores. You can also take a daily, non-drowsy allergy medication such as Allegra or Zyrtec to help reduce the severity of the allergic reaction you experience.

If you are having too difficult of a time with your indoor allergies since cutting a tree down, head to Facebook and ask around to find out if anyone would like a tree. Most families would love a fresh-cut Christmas tree, but some can’t afford to do so. See if you can donate the tree to a family in need or even a local business (or, if there is one, a local business in need). In the end, decorations should not come before one’s health.


The Pleasant Hills Apothecary Team

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