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Holiday Season & Indoor Air Quality

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Published on Dec 11, 2014

During the holiday season, people from across the globe gather in homes to celebrate with friends and family. For many, decorating their home with a Christmas tree or other holiday decorations is a celebrated annual event.

As decorations come out of boxes that have been stored in attics, basements, closets and garages to celebrate the season and to create a festive environment, for some, these decorated indoor environments can also mean a return to allergies and other health issues.

One term that has been increasingly heard in recent years is Christmas Tree Syndrome. It has been used to describe some allergy sufferers’ reactions to the presence of an indoor Christmas tree or wreaths. A study published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology found that the introduction of a Christmas tree into a home could dramatically increase airborne mold spores, a known allergen and asthma trigger, over time. Depending on the situation, Christmas trees could also have pollen and dusts on them that can become aerosolized. Even tree sap can irritate skin and mucous membranes.

For those with an artificial tree, they could still be exposed to dust allergens that have accumulated on an improperly stored tree. Some people may even be sensitive to chemicals used in the production of the artificial tree. Spray on decorative snow applied indoors can also expose people to aerosolized chemicals.

In addition to allergens and asthma triggers associated with Christmas trees, the holiday season can also create other indoor air quality concerns. These include gases and particulates from faulty fireplaces and some types of portable indoor heaters. Also the excessive use of candles can create concerns as can cooking gases and odors from improperly vented stoves and cooktops. Even the presence of peanuts and some other holiday treats can cause reactions in those with allergies to these substances.




These are just a few things to consider during the holiday season to ensure a healthy indoor environment for everyone. To learn more about this or other health and safety, indoor air quality, occupational or environmental issues, please visit the websites shown in the video.

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