Is your Christmas tree causing your allergies?

Posted at 7:07 PM, Dec 08, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-08 20:07:23-05

They are aromatic, an annual tradition, and as much a part of the season as Santa.

But if you're sneezing and wheezing a lot lately -- your Christmas tree could be the cause.

Tamika Grey is an asthma sufferer and example of someone initially surprised by the Christmas related culprit.

"Yeah, it’s kind of shocking though," Grey says. "It’s just so weird cause it’s Christmas time.  We don’t need to go through our asthma problems, not yet, you know wait."

Some call it Christmas tree syndrome. The same beautiful branches that support strings of lights -- also release allergens into the air. 

"This is the time of year they come to us and say 'oh my god you’ve got to do something, every Christmas I’m sick all holiday and I can’t enjoy my family and it starts when I bring that tree in,'", said Don Bukstein, a Pediatric Allergist and Pulmonologist. 

It can be a bit frustrating. Just when you think winter's cold will cap all your allergies -- they pop up again -- often even worse.

But doctors believe jumping on the issue early -- with appropriate treatment -- can make a big difference.

"There are lots of great medications," Bukstein says. "We have over the counter antihistamines, over the counter nasal steroid sprays.  Both go a long way to helping allergies.  If you’re coughing or wheezing or having chest symptoms, you should consult you physician.

So if your pine is becoming a pain and needling you into discomfort -- experts advise washing and thoroughly drying the tree before bringing it inside --  dusting  off ornaments before decorating -- or going artificial to alleviate at least some of the issue.

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