December 23, 2008

Some allergic to certain Christmas trees

About 1 in 10 people are allergic to the pollen of the mountain cedar evergreen, which releases pollen in December, a U.S. expert says.

That could be a problem for those who prefer the mountain cedar as a Christmas tree.

If someone in your home is allergic to mountain cedar pollen, they're in for weeks of sneezing and sniffling, Dr. Dave Khan, a University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center allergy expert, says in a statement.

Fortunately, this is only a risk for people who like to go out into the wild and cut their own trees. The Scotch pines and Douglas firs you find at most Christmas tree lots or cut-it-yourself Christmas tree farms don't pollinate during the winter.

But anything brought in from outdoors is likely to bring mold spores with it so some may still face some allergy issues.

A lot of people are allergic to mold. You can have a live tree treated with fungicide to kill off the mold spores, Khan said. If you have allergy sufferers in your family, an artificial tree may be your best bet.

However, artificial trees stored in dusty attics or basements can accumulate dust and mold in the branches, so they should be taken outdoors and wiped down before putting them up in the home.