Merry sneezemas! Christmas trees bring mold into homes, trigger allergy symptoms

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There is at least one really great reason to get a fake Christmas tree this year. 


Yes, a real Christmas tree brings mold into your home. You are willingly bringing mold into your home to be with your family for the holidays. Yay! 

A study from the SUNY Upstate Medical University found that a small sample of Christmas trees carried about 53 different types of mold.

From the study:

"Epidemic peaks of respiratory illnesses in all age groups are observed around December 25, specifically 1 week before and 1 week after for school-aged children and adults, respectively,1 often raising suspicion that a live, indoor, coniferous Christmas tree may be playing a role. ... In 2007, levels of airborne mold spores in an apartment increased from 800 spores per cubic meter before the introduction of a live conifer to 5,000 spores per cubic meter after its presence of 14 days, but no spore identification was made."

Most molds that were identified are potential allergens and have been shown to increase the risk of wheeze, persistent cough, and allergic sensitization in infants, according to

Dr. Kelli Rose writes: 

The researchers found that mold counts in the air continued to grow while the tree was in the room, and did not drop down back down to normal levels until it was taken down.

Other potential sources for allergen exposure are Christmas ornaments and lights that have been contaminated with dust, including dust mites, or mold. Pests can inhabit your live tree or artificial Christmas tree storage space and leave droppings that aggravate allergies. Terpenes are chemical compounds known for giving pine trees their natural scent and can also cause irritation in some individuals.

That's enough to convince many to go the fake route. However, how can you top the fresh smell of a nice pine? Perhaps a candle will do the trick. But what if you're allergic to candles? Sometimes you just can't win. 

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