Christmas trees and asthma

Christmas tree syndrome is the term used when someone has an allergic reaction to a Christmas tree, due to dust, pollen or mould. This is a condition that causes:

  • wheezing
  • sneezing
  • coughing
  • sore eyes 
  • potentially serious asthma attacks.

Real Christmas trees like cypress and the ever-popular pine can collect a high amount of pollen from other plants before they are cut down. This can trigger asthma and hay fever symptoms once you bring them home, especially if you put them up indoors. 

Artificial trees can also cause asthma and allergy symptoms as they accumulate dust, dust mites and even mould in storage.

With a bit of preparation, you can limit your exposure to the asthma and allergy triggers hiding in your Christmas tree. 

Real Christmas trees

  • Hose down your real tree before you bring it into the house. This will help to wash off the allergens.
  • If you notice increased asthma or allergy symptoms, move your tree outside.  

Artificial Christmas tree in your home

  • Give your artificial tree a good shake outdoors, before putting it up inside.
  • Vacuum your artificial tree and decorations as you get them out of the box, unpacking them outside if possible.
  • Wipe down your artificial tree, wreaths, garlands and ornaments with a damp cloth to remove the dust.
  • When you pack the tree and decorations away, use airtight plastic bags and sealed boxes so they’re less likely to collect dust. 

If your Christmas trees triggers your asthma:

  • Follow your personal written asthma action plan 
  • If you don’t have an action plan, take 4 separate puffs of a blue/grey reliever via a spacer
  • If the symptoms aren’t going away or are getting worse, then follow the steps in
    First Aid for Asthma

First Aid for Asthma chart tailored to combination inhalers

The new First Aid for Asthma chart is based on combination inhalers with Formoterol (Symbicort, Fostair, DuoResp, BiResp) and outlines how to use one of these inhalers if this is the person’s usual reliever. It is designed for patients using a combination preventer and reliever medication that uses formoterol as the reliever. 

First Aid for Asthma 12+ and the First Aid for Asthma Children Under 12 charts can be downloaded from our website: nationalasthma.org.au.

When you’re out celebrating during the festive season, make sure you have your medication with you and take it as advised by your doctor.



It is important to note that information contained in this brochure is not intended to replace professional medical advice. Any questions regarding a medical diagnosis or treatment should be directed to a medical practitioner. 

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