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Is Christmas Tree Syndrome Really A Thing?

As December has hit, everywhere you turn there is holiday music blaring, decorations hanging, and Christmas trees shining. Still, with a tree pretty much standing in almost every home in North America at this time of year, one must wonder if the idea that Christmas trees make the general population sick is really true?

Medical News Today referred to it as “Christmas Tree Syndrome”, yes it has its own name, reports have surfaced over the years indicating that the trees we all love so much during this time of year could potentially be wreaking havoc on our health. As a source of mold, Christmas trees can spoil all the holiday fun and place pressure on people’s respiratory tracks, affecting about 13% of Americans who suffer from mold allergies.

In 1970, Dr. Derek M. Wyse dived into the idea of Christmas trees and our health when he conducted a study around the holiday decoration in relation to pollen and mold. What was found is that seven percent of those who suffer from allergies saw increased symptoms when they put up a Christmas tree in their house. Still, when measurements around the variations of mold spores within the ten homes were analyzed, findings were deemed inconclusive as the type of molds found differed. Still, it’s what all launched the speculation around the Christmas Tree Syndrome concept in the first place.

Then in 2007, Dr. Phillip Hemmers stated that he followed one Christmas tree in particular, during a presentation at the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology annual meeting in Dallas, Texas. What he found was that mold spores increased over fivefold during the holiday time period, spanning 14 days, which reached 5,000 spores each cubic meter.

Dr. Lawrence E. Kurllnadsky, along with his study team, dived deeper into the Christmas Tree Syndrome in 2011. After reviewing clippings from 28 Christmas trees that were owned by fellow staff and the study team, 53 mold species were discovered, where 70 percent were found to possibly be harmful.

Does this mean we should considering tossing our Christmas trees to the curb before the big day hits?

It depends. At the end of the day, the season of winter does tend to bring flu and cold outbreaks, as well as asthma. While the exact reasoning behind this is unknown, your cute Christmas tree in corner, in addition to other factors, could play an underlying role.

However, should you have asthma or allergies, the mold spore levels that your festive tree does being should be taken seriously. At the advice of Dr. Kurlandsky, wash said tree before it comes in the home, keep it up for the least time possible, and have an air purifier going to keep spore levels low.

If you and your family members don’t have allergies, well, then you are good to go and your Christmas tree being up will not at all spoil any of the holiday season.

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