Are you allergic to your Christmas tree?

If you put up your Christmas tree and started having an allergic reaction with a runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing, coughing or itchy skin, or feel like your asthma is aggravated, you might be experiencing what allergists call “Christmas tree syndrome.

Dust, insect droppings, pesticide, mold and varying types of pollen might be to blame, and it can happen in real or artificial trees.

In real trees, the most likely culprit behind your symptoms might actually come from the piney scent that most people associate with Christmas time. Chemical compounds called terpenes found in pine tree sap are responsible for this classic smell but can inflame your airways, giving you a runny and stuffy nose, as well as a cough, according to Dr. Zachary Rubin, a pediatric allergist in Illinois, regardless of whether you’re allergic. If you have watery eyes, itching, sneezing or a runny nose, an oral antihistamine might relieve your symptoms most quickly.

Allergic to your Christmas tree? It's possible.

Artificial trees are more likely to contain dust mites, insect droppings and possibly mold, Rubin said, depending on how you store your tree. Stuffing your tree inside a garbage bag, for example, may invite critters to crawl inside or promote mold growth if your attic or storage closet is warm and humid.

So what to do? You can rinse your tree off in the tub, just make sure there's nothing electrical attached. You can also store your artificial tree in an airtight container.

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