We can’t even remember the last time we saw lush green fields and trees. If you’ve noticed sneezing, wheezing, itchy eyes or a sudden skin rash since the start of December, you might have an allergy that not many of us know about.
There are certain symptoms we’re all on hyper-alert for right now: dry cough, loss of taste/sense of smell, fever. Covid all-clear? Ok, moving on.
Though as we approach Christmas, one thing we really weren’t looking out for was signs of hay fever.
It’s called ‘Christmas Tree Syndrome’ and it means you could allergic to that constant source of festive joy you brought into your home a little early this year.
“It’s surprisingly common to feel hay fever-like symptoms around your Christmas tree,” leading airborne allergens expert Max Wiseberg tells us. “These types of seasonal sneezes can be a reaction to a variety of airborne allergens that get lodged in the branches and pine needles.”
A study by Upstate Medical University previously found that Christmas trees can house an unbelievable 53 different types of mould, plus pollen from other trees that get stuck in the bark.
Wiseberg adds: “All these allergens combined can provide a powerful trigger for those that are sensitive. Even artificial trees can harbour dust which may trigger a reaction.
“If it’s not your Christmas tree that’s getting you, you could still end up with hay fever-like sneezes and sniffles if you’re sensitive to pet or dust allergens, which happens a lot at this time of year because we’re spending more time indoors.”
How To Spot Christmas Tree Syndrome:
• Itchy noses
• Watery eyes
• Chest pains
• Skin rash
Top Tips For Tackling It:
• “Hose down natural trees before taking them into the house, or after getting artificial ones out of storage. This can help remove some of the mould and spores – though it’s probably best to get someone who isn’t allergic to do this!”
• “Take care when you’re decorating your tree, or get someone else to, as allergens will be disturbed as you move the tree into position and move the branches to hang the decorations and position the lights.”
• “Put your tree up as late as possible to help minimise the risk of exposure to mould.”
• “Use an air purifier to help clear the air of mould particles.”
• “Keep cuddly toys and blankets in a cupboard to prevent the build-up of allergens on them.”
• “Apply an allergen barrier balm, which can help trap both indoor and outdoor airborne allergens from entering the body. HayMax is a drug-Free and non-drowsy that can be applied regularly around the nostrils to help stop the allergens getting up your nose.”