Christmas Tree Syndrome

With a christmas tree we celebrate – no, not the birth of Jesus Christ – the lengthening of the days. Christmas is a Christianized pagan midwinter festival that used to be called Yule or Yuletide by Germanic tribes.

The christmas tree with its many lights simply symbolizes the bonfires that accompanied these ancient festivals. Christmas is therefore a both celebration that the dark, cold, endless nights will finally become shorter and it constitutes a starting point for the timing of planting of crops in the spring.
No problem there, you might think but christmas trees aren't a celebration for everyone. Especially people suffering from allergies are at risk. Most scientists point the finger accusingly at molds, but although a study did indeed find large numbers of Penicillium, Epicoccum and Alternaria, these failed to become airborne.

Pollen studies, however, showed release into air of significant amounts of weed, grass and tree pollens while Christmas trees were in the house. Oleoresins of the tree balsam are thought to be the most likely cause of the symptoms designated as Christmas tree allergy[1].

Symptoms of this seasonal syndrome include sneezing, wheezing and transitory skin rashes.

[1] Wyse et al: Christmas tree allergy: mould and pollen studies in Canadian Medical Association Journal - 1970

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