Asthma experts warn of Christmas tree syndrome

Experts from the National Asthma Council Australia have warned that putting on the much-loved Christmas tree may actually cause ‘Christmas tree syndrome’ – an allergic reaction that causes wheezing, sneezing, coughing. , sore eyes and potentially serious asthma attacks.

What is even more surprising is that real Christmas trees as well as artificial trees have their own dangers.

Real Christmas trees like cypress and pine can collect large amounts of pollen from other plants before they are cut, which can trigger asthma and hay fever symptoms once you bring them back. at home.

Artificial trees can also cause problems if they accumulate dust, mites, or even mold during storage.

National Asthma Council’s Sensitive Choice program director David Furniss said most people don’t know that real Christmas trees can harbor pollen and trigger symptoms of asthma and hay fever.

“Pollen can have a big impact and make your asthma symptoms worse. Artificial trees can be a safe

alternative but, if used year after year, they accumulate dust, mites and even mold during storage.

“Even the most exciting part of the Christmas tree tradition – decorating – can also put you at risk if the stored decorations have become dusty,” Mr. Furniss said.

The National Asthma Council Australia has these tips to help you keep your holiday season free of wheezing and sneezing:

Christmas tree living in your home:

• Water your living tree before bringing it into the house to help flush out allergens.

• If you notice an increase in asthma or allergy symptoms, move your tree outside.

Artificial Christmas tree in your home:

• Shake it well outside before putting it inside.

• Unpack your tree and decorations outside and vacuum as you take them out of the box

• Wipe down your artificial tree, wreaths and ornaments with a damp cloth to remove dust

• When storing your tree and decorations, use airtight plastic bags and sealed boxes so they collect less dust.

Mr Furniss said that if you have asthma it is important to be aware of your asthma triggers and manage them if possible.

“You should also continue to follow the asthma action plan that you developed with your doctor.

“Make sure you have your medications with you and take them as your doctor advises, even if you’re partying over the holiday season or on vacation. “

Details: www.nationalasthma.org.au/living-with-asthma/resources/patients-carers/factsheets/christmas-

trees-and-asthma or www.nationalasthma.org.au


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