Have You Heard Of Christmas Tree Syndrome?
Valor Mold is dedicated to informing our customers about mold and the health related concerns it causes. To date, we have published 44 articles on mold and indoor air quality issues. Some articles that you may want to review to learn more about mold include the following:
- Why Should I Be Concerned About Mold?
- How Do I Know Mold Is Making Me Sick?
- What Should I Do If I Find Mold?
- What Are The Primary Goals Of Mold Inspectors?
- How Is Mold Removal Cost Determined?
- What Happens During Mold Remediation?
- How Safe Is My Indoor Air?
- How Toxic Is Black Mold?
- Why Does Mold Grow In My Attic?
- What Are The To 10 Mold Prevention Tips?
- Does Bleach Really Work On Mold?
- 15 Common Questions About Mold, Health, and Indoor Air Quality!
Further to our mission of providing you with information about mold, this article explores the topic of Christmas Tree Syndrome. Do you know what this is?
A newspaper article was published to explain the potential health concerns caused by your Christmas tree: “How CHRISTMAS TREES can cause hay fever hell: Pollen grains, dust and mould can trigger sneezing, coughing and a runny nose”
The article dubbed the illness Christmas Tree Syndrome because 1 in 3 (approximately 35 percent) people get sick, suffering from hay fever like symptoms soon after the Christmas tree is set up in the home.
This article explains what causes Christmas Tree Syndrome and provides recommendations on how you can minimize the potential health issues caused by this indoor air quality issue.
Does Mold Cause Christmas Tree Syndrome?
Prior to the studies documented below, it was thought that tree pollen or even the weed killer applied to the Christmas trees made people ill.
However, as the three studies below conclude, the core cause of Christmas Tree Syndrome is mold, which releases spores and causes allergic reactions:
Researchers at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport, Connecticut, found that a room containing a fresh Christmas tree for two weeks had mold levels that were five times the normal level. Other studies have shown that levels this high can cause allergic rhinitis and asthma symptoms, says the study’s coauthor, allergist and immunologist Philip Hemmers. (A fresh Christmas tree for two weeks had mold levels that were five times the normal level)
In another study Dr. John Santilli, compared the level of mold spores in the home before and after the tree was placed in the home. The normal level of mold spores is 800 per cubic meter, but within 14 days of the Christmas tree being in the home, the level of mold spores increased to 5,000 spores per cubic meter.
Another scientific study by allergy specialist, Dr. Lawrence Kurlandsky at Upstate Medical University in New York set out to determine why respiratory illnesses peak around Christmas. The study found 53 different kinds of mold, including, aspergillus, penicillium, cladosporium and alternaria, which can trigger asthma attacks, sneezing and a runny nose. One of the key conclusions made by this study was 70 percent of the molds found triggered allergies and asthma.
Symptoms Of Christmas Tree Syndrome!
Typical signs that your tree is making you ill include the following:
- Asthma attacks, usually triggered by cladosporium mold
- Runny nose
- Sinus pain
- Cold like symptoms, that subside when away from the home or the room with the tree in it.
Steps To Minimize Mold Exposure From My Christmas Tree?
Mold spores are found naturally on Christmas trees, which will flourish once they are in a centrally heated home.
With this in mind, if you can manage Christmas with an artificial tree, that is the best solution. Please note, artificial trees can accumulate a layer of dust and even mold if not stored properly. Be sure to store your artificial tree in a dry area and preferably in plastic tubs to minimize exposure to moisture and dust.
However, if you must use a live Christmas tree, here are some tips to minimize the health impact:
- Thoroughly hose down your tree and let it dry before bringing it into the house. If you bought your tree at a nursery, ask if they have tree washing services.
- Clean all ornaments and lights before putting on the tree; they can harbor dust and molds. Store all decorations in plastic containers that can be easily wiped down since cardboard can potentially attract dust and mold.
- Minimize exposure. If you’re sensitive to molds, keep a live Christmas tree no more than four to seven days.
- Run an air purifier in the same room as the Christmas tree. This may help alleviate symptoms.
- Allergy medication may also help alleviate some symptoms as well.
- Since mold spores may accumulate the longer your tree is in the house, consider getting rid of it first thing on the 26th.
Got Mold Questions?
Happy holidays from the staff at Valor Mold. If you have questions, we are here to help! If you think you have mold, call us, 703-897-7121 or contact us via e-mail for further assistance. We look forward to serving you! 🙂
— Valor Mold (@ValorMold) November 30, 2017