A person is considered allergic to a substance if they react abnormally to it even though it is usually harmless to others. When the allergic individual comes in contact with the allergen, it causes a chemical response in the body that results in the symptoms of the allergy. These allergic symptoms can be mild or fatal, and they can vary from simple skin irritation to disruption of vital processes. Allergic symptoms usually vary based on the method of exposure and the type of allergen, and allergens can include dust, pollen, mold, and food; among many other substances. Allergies develop once the person is sensitized to the substance through frequent exposure that results in production of allergic antibodies. Allergies can often run in families, and they develop most often in children and young adults.
Christmas Tree Allergies
During the holiday season, there are various ways people can be exposed to allergens, and one of the most common is the Christmas tree. Respiratory issues are the main result of issues related to Christmas trees. Watering live trees each day can lead to the development of mold on nearby fixtures, walls or floors if not done carefully. Dust can accumulate on ornaments or other decorations, and chemicals are sometimes used as decoration or to preserve the tree. All of these substances are asthma triggers, and if they are present even in small amounts they can trigger serious reactions. It is rare that the tree itself will trigger an allergic response.
Dealing With Artificial Trees
Though they are not composed of organic materials, artificial trees can expose people to the same allergens as real ones. Trees stored for months at a time are likely to accumulate dust. Dust mites are common allergens that can become more of a problem during the holiday season when the air holds more moisture. Traveling more frequently or hosting guests can bring more dust mites into the home. Artificial decorations can also grow mold when exposed to liquids without being properly cleaned. Tracking in snow or wet leaves near the decorations can facilitate growth of mold spores and fungi, and this can increase wheezing and coughing reactions.
Avoiding Asthma Triggers And Other Allergens
Unpacking decorations to go on the tree can also irritate dust allergies. They’re often stored in attics, closets or basements for long periods of time. In some cases, the cramped areas can be more damp, making dust and mold worse. Moving the tree and unpacking it stirs up the dust and transfers it to those carrying it, settling on their hands and clothes. They will likely inhale the dust and pass it on to other members of the household that may have dust allergies themselves. Live trees can carry mold when first brought into the house and can attract dust and other substances that may irritate indoor allergies.
These trees and wreaths should only be kept for a couple of weeks to limit exposure to mold spores. To reduce the chances of Christmas tree allergies, they can also be hosed down and thoroughly shaken before being brought inside to eliminate existing spores. Artificial trees and decorations should be stored away from the floor in dry areas. Smaller items should be kept in air tight plastic bags. Those unpacking decorations should remember to wash their hands immediately after.
Do you know someone you think might suffer from allergies or asthma related to Christmas trees? Be sure to repost these tips for friends and family that may suffer during the holiday season, and if members of your family have to miss out on the holiday experience due to indoor allergies, schedule an appointment at Asthma and Allergy Associates to receive a treatment plan tailored to their needs. Call us at 719-4730872 or our toll free number 800-533-3900. You can also visit our website to request an appointment on line at www.aacos.com.