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Allergic to the Holidays?

The holiday season is meant to be joyous, but for many, the pressures of the season can be daunting. And to further complicate matters, even something as important to the holidays as the Christmas tree in your living room can cause allergies.

Indeed, incessant sneezing is no way to spend the holidays, but live Christmas trees are known to often carry microscopic mold spores that can trigger allergy symptoms including sneezing, watery eyes and an itchy nose. A study by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology reported on in the December 2007 U.S. News & World Report indicates that live Christmas trees can adversely affect indoor air quality. The study was conducted because of the increase of asthma and sinus complaints among patients each winter.

Artificial Christmas trees can also trigger allergic reactions, especially if they have been improperly stored and are carrying significant amounts of dust. In addition, some of the materials used to manufacture artificial Christmas trees could cause sinus irritiation for those who are especially sensitive.

"As mold growth is common in the area surrounding outdoor foliage, we hypothesized that the presence of a live Christmas tree may be contributing to indoor mold," noted a researcher involved in the study. Researchers tested air quality and measured mold counts in a room containing a live Christmas tree, and they found that mold counts in the air grew during the time the tree was brought into the room until it was taken down.

 

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