With the trend for Australians to put up Christmas trees early, experts from the National Asthma Council Australia have warned that your festive tree can trigger asthma symptoms and nasty respiratory problems.
Being allergic to a Christmas tree – often called the Christmas tree syndrome - is a condition that causes wheezing, sneezing, coughs, sore eyes, and potentially serious asthma attacks.
Real Christmas trees like the Cypress and the ever-popular Pine can collect a high amount of pollen. The pollen is not produced by the tree itself, but from other plants.
National Asthma Council Australia Chief Executive Officer Siobhan Brophy said that that most people are unaware that real Christmas trees can harbour pollen and can trigger asthma and hay fever symptoms, especially when they are displayed indoors.
“Pollen can have a big impact causing your asthma symptoms to get worse.
“Artificial trees can be a safe alternative but, if used year after year, they accumulate dust, dust mites and even mould in storage,” Ms Brophy said.
“Even the most exciting part of the Christmas tree tradition – decorating – can put you at risk too, if decorations in storage have become dusty.
“You will have significantly fewer problems with asthma and allergies if you are well prepared and your Christmas and holiday surroundings are clean and free from dust and mould,” explained Ms Brophy.
The National Asthma Council Australia has these tips to help keep your festive season free of wheezing and sneezing:
Ms Brophy said that if you have asthma, it’s important to be aware of your asthma triggers and manage them if possible.
“You should also continue to follow the personal written asthma action plan that you have developed with your doctor. Make sure you have your medication with you and take it as advised by your doctor, even if you are out celebrating during the festive season or away on holidays.
For more information on asthma and allergies, visit the National Asthma Council Australia website:
For further information, or to arrange an interview with a National Asthma Council Australia spokesperson, please contact:
Tel: 03 9929 4333