Allergic to Christmas: How your Christmas tree could be triggering your allergies

Christmas tree

Allergic to Christmas: How your Christmas tree could be triggering your allergies

Most of us catch a cold in the colder months, but if you seem to be one of those that get a cold every year around Christmas, it might actually be an allergy. 7% of the population experience symptoms as a result of exposure to pine trees.

That’s right, it could be that getting in the Christmas spirit has been giving you that stuffy nose all these years. Although “Christmas Tree Syndrome” is rarely dangerous, you shouldn’t have to deal with feeling under the weather while trying to enjoy the holidays with your family.


The symptoms of a pine tree allergy mirror those of a cold, which is, without a test, hard to identify. Symptoms include a runny nose, sneezing, and coughing, but also include symptoms that are similar to hay fever, such as itchy, watery eyes with dark circles under them. You may also get a skin rash

Depending on whether you have asthma or existing allergies, these symptoms can be mild or quite severe, with extreme cases sometimes resulting in bronchitis or pneumonia. 


It’s been estimated that approximately 35% of people in the UK and US suffer from an increase in hay-fever-like symptoms at Christmas, with real trees causing the most problems. Many factors can trigger this reaction, but it’s unlikely you’re allergic to the tree itself. You’re more likely to be allergic to other factors, like mould, pollen, and dust that has collected in the tree. 

The pollen from Christmas trees is inactive by the winter, but the tree may still be coated in weed pollen, which can trigger an allergic reaction. One of the most common triggers for respiratory reactions is dust mites, which you can unknowingly bring in on your Christmas tree.

Is artificial the answer?

Artificial trees can be a better alternative, but artificial trees can still harbour the mould and dust that can trigger a reaction. We often store trees in attics and cellars – places that are prone to mould and dust build-up. You can try wiping down your artificial tree and your Christmas decorations to remove the allergens and, hopefully, reduce your symptoms.

If you suspect there may be more to that cold you seem to get every Christmas, it’s always best to put any worry to bed by contacting an allergist. It means you can finally focus on enjoying the holidays with your loved ones.

At Allergy Clinic London, we have the allergy expertise to help you enjoy the holidays, stress-free. For an allergy test or advice on how to deal with your allergies, phone us today on 02031 433 449.

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