As the holidays come closer, you are likely to see the holiday spirit on social media as well as other forms of mediums. Fairy lights, stockings, Christmas decorations become a common sight. Who can forget the Christmas trees?
Some people are super excited and set their tree up in their living rooms as early as November. However, others may not feel the same spirit or just may feel unusual around trees.
Turns out, even the most health-conscious people are not aware of the Christmas tree syndrome. Have you ever felt like the presence of tree indoors is making you sick or making your allergies worse? You are not alone!
How Can Christmas Trees Cause Problems?
Christmas trees triggering health issues has no scientific backup. However, it has been recently noted by the people and many online health articles have pointed it out.
According to many of the articles covering staying healthy during holidays, Christmas trees cause problems because of them being a breeding ground for mold.
Mold can not only cause breathing problems in otherwise healthy people but potentially send someone with respiratory infections or issues to the hospital.
In addition, around thirteen percent of the population in the United States suffers from a mold allergy. The allergy is not very well documented or understood. People with it are usually told to keep their distance.
Mold Allergy – Myth or Reality?
While some people may call the whole Christmas tree syndrome a holiday myth, others report feeling breathless while being around the tree for too long. What do the researchers say on this issue?
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, if a person has an allergy that appears over many seasons, he/she may be allergic to spores or fungi such as mold.
The spores of all types of fungi are present in many types of shapes. They are found in both the outdoors and indoors.
The types and species of fungi in the world are numerous. Out of the one million recognized species, around one hundred are able to cause a mold allergy.
The most commonly diagnosed allergies are caused mainly by four types – Cladosporium, Aspergillus, Penicillium, and Alternaria,
The spores of the mold are only dangerous when are present in a high or critical level. This can affect those with mold allergy as well as those with respiratory problems and other infections. For example, people with asthma may have a reaction to it and get an attack.
How Are Christmas Trees Linked?
The possible connection between Christmas trees and allergic reactions was highlighted by a paper published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. The study showed that people with allergies had a seven percent increase in symptoms while having a Christmas tree around.
You can read the paper here.
The only thing this study lacked was the specific types of molds and their amount that are dangerous.
At the annual meeting of the College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, a report highlighted a five-fold increase in mold spores in 14 days during the holidays. An extensive study held in 2011 then finally pinned down 53 species, 70% of which were harmful.
What Can You Do?
The seasonal change can cause more allergies and make the symptoms worse in general. The exact cause, therefore, is said to be not known. However, if you do have mold allergy or feel like Christmas trees make you sick, try to set one in as late as possible.
You can also stop the breeding of mold in the trees by using an air purifier. Wash the tree before setting it up and get rid of it as soon as the festive season ends. Make sure no other sources of mold are present in the room.
If you do not have respiratory issues and allergies, you are not likely to be affected by the trees. So, if you do not feel any related symptoms, the trees are fortunately of no harm to you.