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Christmas trees pose risk to allergy sufferers

Anonymous Coward
User ID: 169030
12/13/2006 02:12 AM
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Christmas trees pose risk to allergy sufferers
Christmas trees pose risk to allergy sufferers
Updated Tue. Dec. 12 2006 9:26 PM ET

CTV.ca News Staff

Researchers say those who suffer spring and summer allergies may get a midwinter flare-up from Christmas trees.

"We found there was pollen and moulds on the tree. Some of it was actively growing, some of it was stuck on there," Jim Anderson of the London Health Sciences Centre told CTV News on Tuesday.

The trees collect ragweed pollen, moulds and fungal spores from the farms on which they are grown.

When the trees get moved or dry out, the spores and mould fly into the air.

As a result, the researchers found up to 200 times the level of such material in the air compared to a home with no Christmas tree.

Those who think an artificial tree solves the problem should think again.

Tests found small amounts of fungus on those two because they collected dust and mould when they are stored.

"I was kind of surprised," Anderson said.

As a result, those who suffer from spring and summer allergies may suffer yet again.

Dr. Michael Alexander, an allergy specialist, had this advice: "I think for people who are susceptible, they should wear long-sleeved shirts with globes and maybe have a fan in the room to disperse the pollen."

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America has the following suggestions:

When brining a Christmas tree home, tie it to a roof rack, if possible, so the airflow can remove some of the dust and mould.
Bounce the tree's trunk on the driveway or some other firm surface outside.
Wipe down the trunk with a rag using a mild bleach solution (one part bleach to 20 parts lukewarm water).
Submerge the trunk in a bucket of fresh water while letting the tree's branches dry out a bit more.
Use a leaf-blower on the tree. Perform this operation outside while wearing a dust mask.
"Or the best option is to get somebody else to decorate it for you, and you just enjoy the Christmas tree!" Alexander laughed.

The good news is that once the tree is gone, the allergens disappear too.

With a report from CTV's Avis Favaro and Elizabeth St. Philip

User ID: 159000
United States
12/13/2006 02:25 AM
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Re: Christmas trees pose risk to allergy sufferers
My mom is a allergic. We have to use plastic substitutes, or she gets sick. Never quite the same....