LETTER: Welling up at Christmas a sneeze on holidays

MOST people are unaware that real Christmas trees can harbour pollen and can trigger asthma and hay fever symptoms, especially when they are displayed indoors.

Being allergic to a Christmas tree – often called the Christmas tree syndrome – is a condition that causes wheezing, sneezing, coughs, sore eyes, and potentially serious asthma attacks.

Real Christmas trees like the Cypress and the ever-popular Pine can collect a high amount of pollen. The pollen is not produced by the tree itself, but from other plants.

Artificial trees can be a safe alternative but, if used year after year, they accumulate dust, dust mites and even mould in storage.

Even the most exciting part of the Christmas tree tradition – decorating – can put you at risk too, if decorations in storage have become dusty.

You will have significantly fewer problems with asthma and allergies if you are well prepared and your Christmas and holiday surroundings are clean and free from dust and mould.

If you have asthma, it’s important to be aware of your asthma triggers and manage them if possible.

Siobhan Brophy, 

National Asthma Council Australia

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