MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) Their size, shape, color and, of course, their distinct smell are the first things that come to mind when picking the perfect Christmas tree. But those beautiful Christmas icons can also contain allergens that will leave you sneezing this holiday season.
"The first issue is the tree itself, even though they've been cut and it is winter, they still have pollen probably with certain trees," said Dr. Dennis Rhoades of Doctors Care. "But, on top of that the trees can have mold associated with them because they've been in damp environments, been watered and outside so you're bringing a source of mold inside as well."
Christmas trees spend the majority of their lives in the outdoors until they are uprooted to be sold and brought home. The trees are often harvested for purchase well in advance of Christmas and stored in moist holding areas, vulnerable to grow mold, according to the American Christmas Tree Association.
While the tree's beauty is in plain sight, the mold can be microscopic and often times unnoticeable. "Especially with Christmas trees, the types of evergreens, their needles' positions make it hard to examine if there is mold," Dr. Rhoades explained.
Allergic reactions can cause itchy eyes, a runny nose, scratchy throat or even wheezing and difficulty breathing. Molds can even trigger Asthma for those with the condition. The effects allergies have on your body also make you more prone to contracting viruses, Dr. Rhoades said.
"So one of the big issues is if you do have allergies to mold or significant allergy problems, should you even consider a real tree?" Dr. Rhoades questioned.
If you cannot imagine the holidays without a real spruce in your living room there are ways to protect yourself from severe effects.
Taking over the counter allergy medicines before bringing the tree home can lower the chances of severe problems, Dr. Rhoades suggested.
"Over the counter products are good for allergies, if they aren't working they have inhalants or nasal sprays and steroids that can help people out," Dr. Rhoades said.
Hosing the tree down with water before taking it into your home and waiting for it to dry before bringing it inside can also help reduce effects of tree-related allergies, according to the American Christmas Tree Association.
If the thought of fighting allergies is enough to make you sick, artificial Christmas trees may be the better alternative. Artificial trees that are stored properly, safe from collecting dust or growing mold, can help you enjoy a sneeze free holiday season.
"We recommend artificial trees, no issues with mold, unless of course your tree is old, stored in your attic several years and bringing in the dust element," Dr. Rhoades explained.
Thursday, May 23 2013 12:30 PM EDT2013-05-23 16:30:43 GMT
Authorities say five people have been arrested in the robbery of $4 million in jewelry from a Connecticut store in an elaborate heist that began with the kidnapping of store employees more than 40 milesMore >
Authorities say five people have been arrested in the robbery of $4 million in jewelry from a Connecticut store in an elaborate heist that began with the kidnapping of store employees more than 40 miles away.More >
Thursday, May 23 2013 11:43 AM EDT2013-05-23 15:43:24 GMT
Fallen officer's daughter graduates from kindergarten
Hundreds of Phoenix police officers showed their support for a fallen colleague by attending his daughter's kindergarten graduation in Anthem on Wednesday. Officer Daryl Raetz was killed in the lineMore >
Tatum Raetz, 5, graduated from kindergarten in Anthem Wednesday and hundreds of uniformed Phoenix police officers were there to show their support for the family.More >
Thursday, May 23 2013 4:24 PM EDT2013-05-23 20:24:28 GMT
Three people were arrested after police said they stole $30,000 worth of cell phones from a Walmart in Naugatuck early Thursday morning. According to police, the suspects broke into a one of the store'sMore >
Three people were arrested after police said they stole $30,000 worth of cell phones from a Walmart in Naugatuck early Thursday morning.More >
Thursday, May 23 2013 9:05 AM EDT2013-05-23 13:05:24 GMT
For two years, the Channel 3 Eyewitness News I-Team has been following a New Britain woman who has filed dozens of lawsuits. She's sued everyone from Connecticut Light & Power and World Wrestling Entertainment,More >
For two years, the Channel 3 Eyewitness News I-Team has been following a New Britain woman who has filed dozens of lawsuits. More >
Thursday, May 23 2013 3:15 PM EDT2013-05-23 19:15:55 GMT
Firefighters still remain on the scene after a large fire ripped through a multi-family home in the Taftville section of Norwich. The fire broke out in the home on Norwich Avenue around midnight Thursday.More >
More than a dozen people are being helped by the American Red Cross after a large fire ripped through an apartment building in the Taftville section of Norwich.More >
Thursday, May 23 2013 11:55 AM EDT2013-05-23 15:55:08 GMT
(RNN) - Dozens of Cleveland restaurants have pledged to give the man who rescued three Ohio women from captivity, free burgers for life. Charles Ramsey, the guy who famously stopped eating his Big MacMore >
More than a dozen of Cleveland restaurants have pledged to give the man who rescued three Ohio women from captivity, free burgers for life.More >
Thursday, May 23 2013 4:40 PM EDT2013-05-23 20:40:56 GMT
The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for Litchfield County until 7:15 p.m.The National Weather Service Doppler radar indicated flash flooding from a thunderstorm entering the area,More >
Flooding is possible for several parts of Connecticut Thursday evening.More >
Thursday, May 23 2013 9:53 AM EDT2013-05-23 13:53:17 GMT
The Newtown Board of Education has unanimously hired a principal from neighboring Bethel to lead the Sandy Hook Elementary School. The News-Times of Danbury reports that Kathleen Gombos, the principalMore >
The Newtown Board of Education has unanimously hired a principal from neighboring Bethel to lead the Sandy Hook Elementary School.More >