Christmas Tree Allergy | Norton Healthcare Louisville, Ky.

Why the Christmas tree may be making you sneeze

Is a Christmas tree allergy making you sick? If mold spores make you sneeze, your living Christmas tree could be giving you symptoms.

Is a Christmas tree allergy making you sick? If mold spores make you sneeze, your living Christmas tree could be giving you symptoms.

Once a pine tree leaves the forest and lands in your living room, it may be festooned with mold along with ornaments, tinsel and lights. A study presented to a scientific meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAA) found that bringing a live Christmas tree into a home can significantly increase indoor mold counts.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, inhaling or touching mold spores may cause a reaction in people who are allergic to them.

Symptoms of the allergy — sometimes called Christmas tree syndrome — include:

  • Runny nose
  • Congestion
  • Red, itchy eyes
  • Skin rash

The study suggests replacing your natural tree with an artificial one or opening a window for several minutes each day to help prevent allergic reactions.

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But if your Christmas tree already has you looking like Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, it may be time to turn to a professional for help, according to Rachel Alexander, APRN, a nurse practitioner with Norton eCare.

“It’s important for your physician to help you determine whether you are experiencing allergies or something more, such as a cold or the flu, and provide the right treatment,” Rachel said.

However, if you are unable to see your primary care provider, you can schedule a virtual visit through Norton eCare to help determine if it’s an allergic response or something else. A Norton eCare provider can refer you for drive-thru testing if needed.

Signs and Symptoms COVID-19 Cold Influenza Allergies
Symptom onset Abrupt Gradual Abrupt Abrupt
Fever Common Rare Usually; lasts 3 to 4 days No
Aches Sometimes Slight Usually; often severe No
Chills Common Uncommon Fairly common No
Fatigue, weakness Sometimes Sometimes Usually Sometimes
Sneezing Rare Common Sometimes Common
Stuffy nose Rare Common Sometimes Common
Sore throat Sometimes Common Common No
Chest discomfort, cough Common Mild to moderate; hacking cough Common; can be severe Sometimes
Headache Sometimes Rare Common Sometimes
Extreme exhaustion Sometimes Never Common No
Shortness of breath When serious Rare Rare Sometimes
Runny nose Rare Common Sometimes Common
Diarrhea Sometimes No Sometimes No
New loss of taste or smell Common No No No

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