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What the 'Christmas tree syndrome' is and how to avoid it

People can have allergic reactions to mold, dust and fragrances from Christmas trees.

SEATTLE — It’s the greatest time of year, but not for everyone.

Doctors say there is a real health concern for people who are allergic to Christmas trees and decorations. 

Healthcare professionals call it “the Christmas tree syndrome,” when doctors see respiratory problems linked to Christmas trees.

It’s unlikely that someone is allergic to the Christmas tree itself, but the fragrance could irritate allergies.

Mold spores grow naturally on trees and can multiply in warm settings. 

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On top of that, all the decorations we keep in garages, basements and attics are breeding grounds for mold and dust mites, which can trigger asthma and allergies.

"If you have asthma mild, moderate or even severe, you'd have to be very careful. Allergies, regular allergies to mold, you know will have more congestion rhinitis watery eyes, itchy sneezy,” according to Dr. Fadi Alkhatib, an allergist. 

If you're concerned about the allergens, you can always opt for an artificial tree.

You can wipe down all your holiday decorations before setting them up. Storing the decorations in plastic bins vs cardboard boxes will help reduce the chance for mold or dust.

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