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Christmas Tree Syndrome: Why your allergies may be linked to holiday decor

GREENE COUNTY — It’s that time of year when families are looking for the perfect, live Christmas tree, but many have never thought to check if they are allergic.

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News Center 7′s Taylor Robertson spent time learning more about Christmas Tree Syndrome.

Carl and Dorothy Young’s Christmas Tree Farm owner Ben Young said he has never heard of such “syndrome.”

“I think this is fake news put out by the Grinch,” Ben said.

Kettering Health Family Physician Austin Williams said he can’t say how common Christmas Tree Syndrome is because many cases go unreported.

“This is essentially an allergic reaction not to the Christmas tree itself but to mold that grows in and on the fur tree when it gets cut and then when you bring it into the home and you know you’re in close contact with it indoors the mold can activate or trigger an allergic response in people,” Williams said.

Williams said the symptoms are like other mild allergic reactions. Some of those include a runny nose, congestion, sore throat, and headaches.

“The more worrisome thing would be, if you are somebody that suffers with asthma or COPD, it could trigger an exacerbation of that where you have a harder time breathing,” Williams said. “The average person is probably going to have more like mild-moderate allergy symptoms.”

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To keep yourself safe, Williams recommends taking the live Christmas tree outside to spray it off with water before setting it up inside.

The Ohio State Health and Discovery also has a few tips for those who think they are allergic to Christmas trees:

  • Cover your skin while decorating the tree
  • Relocate air puffers
  • Try an artificial tree

At Carl and Dorothy Young’s Christmas Tree Farm, employees will shake out the tree once it is cut.

“Get any dead needles out and clean it up and then when we put the wrapping on it makes it easier to load, transport, and get into your house later,” Young said.

If you think you’re allergic to the mold from fresh-cut Christmas trees, talk to a doctor.

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