Christmas Tree Mold
There's nothing quite like finding that perfect, if not maybe a bit-too-big, Griswold-family-sized Christmas tree to mark the beginning of the holiday season. But be careful - according to The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI), the Christmas tree mold on your pine-scented evergreen might be linked to poor indoor air quality.
What is Christmas tree mold?
The AAAAI explains that some trees house microscopic mold spores that trigger asthma or allergies, causing symptoms like sneezing, throat irritation, nasal stuffiness, and headaches. Further explanation comes from Juhie Bhatia of HealthDay, who says that the AAAAI study found that the mold spore count of homes with Christmas trees is five times above normal levels, which correlate with allergic rhinitis and an increased rate of asthma symptoms and asthma-related hospitalization in other studies.
"So if you don't feel well during the holidays, consider the Christmas tree as a possible source of allergies."
How to minimize the effects of Christmas tree mold
To help minimize the effects of Christmas tree mold, Dr. David Khan, an associate professor of internal medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas says there are some simple things you can do around the house.
- Run an air cleaner in the same room as the tree, which could theoretically reduce the Christmas tree mold
- Wear a N95 dust mask while transporting and setting up the tree, as well as when bringing dusty items out of storage.
Ways to reduce the effects of Christmas tree mold this holiday season include:
- Use air filters. Place HEPA filters in guest bedrooms, as well as in common areas, making sure to run them for a couple of days before guests arrive.
- Minimize allergens. Wash linens in hot water, mop hard floors, use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter or double bags (so you don't expel more pet allergens into the air), remove any rugs, and try to schedule a carpet shampooing a few days prior to guests' arrival.
- Consider a professional air duct cleaning. Removing mold spores from your HVAC system can be a key component to improving your home's air quality, and will prevent the Christmas tree mold from continuously being recirculated throughout your home.
More info? For more information on effective ways to reduce the effects of Christmas tree mold and improve your indoor air quality this holiday season, check out our post: Are Your Holiday Guests Allergic to Pets?