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Heads Up, Hudson Valley: Christmas Tree Syndrome May Cause Illness

Live Christmas trees can contain high levels of mold.
Live Christmas trees can contain high levels of mold. Photo Credit: Facebook

Bringing home a live Christmas tree marks the beginning of the holiday season, but for many, live trees can also mark the beginning of weeks of suffering for those with allergy and asthma problems, a new study found.

Dubbed the "Christmas Tree Syndrome," the "illness" can cause wheezing, allergic reactions, coughing, and other symptoms, all from the mold found in live Christmas trees.

In the study, conducted by Connecticut researchers and presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology annual meeting, researchers found that mold on live trees can be five times the normal level just two weeks after a tree was brought into the house.

There's no need to toss that real tree, however, there are ways to avoid getting symptoms or sick. In fact, the fastest and easiest way is to find a Christmas tree seller that has a machine that can shake a tree to remove mold and bugs, yes bugs, from the tree before you take it home.

Tree farmers say you can also hose a tree down outside and let it dry before bringing it inside the home to remove the mold and bugs. 

Researchers recommended that people with mold sensitivity only keep the tree in their house for four to seven days as the mold continues to develop and peak after several days.

Of course, there's also an artificial tree, but for those who believe in the real thing, they can try bringing in air cleaners or scrubbers, but that could also remove the "fresh" tree scene. And, if they are stored, can harbor dust which can also cause allergies to flare.

And then there's dust on ornaments and decorations too. 

So grab a mask and enjoy the holidays, live or artificial. 

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