Live Christmas trees may bring more than the joys of the holiday season into homes, they can bring in mold!

A recent study examined the relationship between mold growth on live Christmas trees and indoor air quality. This study showed evidence of a consistent and dramatic increase in asthma and sinus issues among patients every winter. Specifically, the holiday season.

Christmas trees are the hidden holiday allergen, said Dr. James Sublett, chief of Pediatric Allergy at the University of Louisville School of Medicine in Kentucky. Even Christmas ornaments and lights that have been contaminated with dust or mold.

Since trees are harvested weeks before the Christmas season, they often standing in moist environments. This continued exposure to moisture can cause mold to develop. Mold spores can spread easily as you carry the tree into your house and move branches around. This exposure puts you and your family at risk for the health issues. Researchers discovered that a fresh Christmas tree can raise the mold level in a room by as much as five times their normal levels. This can cause allergy symptoms and even trigger asthma. 

To reduce the risk of exposure of mold and other allergens in your home, thoroughly shake your tree before bringing it inside. Handle your tree as little as possible and consider waiting to purchase one until later in the season. Keep a real tree up and decorated for no more than a week.

In light of the study, the holidays can still be festive without a live tree. Finding a nice and affordable artificial tree is easier than ever now. However, mold will grow on the artificial trees as well. Proper storage is key to preventing mold growth. Waterproof tightly sealed containers are the best way to keep your Christmas tree clean year round. Make sure to not store them in areas that are prone to damp conditions. 

Make sure you check all holiday decorations for mold and water damage before hanging them in your home. Bringing the holiday spirit to your home shouldn’t come with health triggers to you or your family!

The information contained in this report is for informational and educational purposes only. It does not represent a health diagnosis, therapeutic recommendation or prescription for treatment. We urge you to consult and obtain medical advice from a licensed, trained, and competent medical provider for concerns with health issues.

References:

How to Get Rid of White, Fuzzy, Moldy Potting Soil, 2019

EXPOSURE TO MOLD: ARE YOUR HOUSEPLANTS MAKING YOU SICK?, 2017

A Lesson in Microbiology, 2017

James L. Sublett, M.D.

CHRISTMAS TREE ALLERGY, 2015