‘Christmas Tree Syndrome’ is a real thing as one Ohio woman found out…Angela Presti couldn’t wait to decorate her first real Christmas tree with her daughter.
She found the perfect one at a Northeast Ohio tree lot, brought it into the house and started decorating. Except a few hours later she noticed one side of her face was swollen. She wrote it off as stress until it kept getting worse.
She recalls her cheeks becoming hot and itchy! Angela called her father who rushed her to UH Parma Medical Center. She collapsed when she got there and medical staff gave her epinephrine.
“They knew it was an allergic reaction right away and kept asking me what I had eaten, but I knew, it was the Christmas tree,” she said. That didn’t surprise them.
It’s estimated about 7% of the population suffers from what’s known as Christmas Tree Syndrome. It’s an allergic reaction, not to the tree, but typically mould spores that come from the tree.
The hospital says they often see Christmas tree allergies this time of year with common symptoms that include trouble breathing and skin rash…
Typically the mold forms after the tree is cut and bundled. Often they get wet on the lot or during transportation and that’s a perfect environment for mold to start growing.
TIPS FOR REDUCING MOLD RISK ON YOUR CHRISTMAS TREE…
For Live Trees:
- Hose off the tree to remove pollen and mould and let dry before you bring it inside.
- Wear gloves and long sleeves when carrying the tree to avoid sap touching your skin.
- Wipe down the trunk of the tree
- Use a leaf blower to remove dust or dead needles
- Discard the tree the day after Christmas
- Use an air purifier in the room with the tree
depending on how and where artificial trees were stored for the last eleven months, they might cause problems too.
For Artificial Trees:
- Wrap the tree securely, and store it in a cool and dry place.
- Wipe down the tree and ornaments before setting up.
- Sweep the tree with a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA filter
- Reduce the amount of spray snow to frost your tree and windows. Aerosolized chemicals can cause irritant reactions in the eyes, nose or lungs.