The scent of an evergreen has been known to inspire even the most Scrooge-like among us to deck the halls and rock around the Christmas tree. But for some folks, the reaction to a live Christmas tree is less “Ahh!” and more “Achoo!”
While the most common types of live Christmas trees don’t produce allergy-inducing pollen in the winter, allergists say almost any live tree can bring on a sneezing fit for folks allergic to mold. So it doesn’t matter if it’s a Fraser fir or Virginia pine. Any live tree can give allergic folks fits.
About 15 percent of people are allergic to mold, and according to a 2007 study, mold levels seem to spike in rooms where live Christmas trees are on display. Trees decay after they are chopped down and are often stored in moist locales before being sold.
But mold may not be the only reason an allergy sufferer reaches for a hankie. During the rest of the year, ornaments and garlands collect dust and other indoor allergens, as do artificial trees. And although the most popular Christmas tree varieties — Douglas Fir and Scotch pine — should be pollen-free for the holidays, some evergreens release pollen during the winter months.
So what’s an allergy-prone guy or gal to do? If you want a tree to be part of your decked halls, experts advise taking both types of trees, live and artificial, outside for a good shake, or even using a blower to remove allergens from the needles before decorating them. Also, make sure your ornaments and garland are dust-free. You can use a dust wipe or vacuum to ensure your decorations are devoid of dust and dander.
The next step? Breathe in and say “Ahh!”