Runny nose and cough: You may be suffering from "Christmas tree" syndrome

Photo: Andy Dean / Panthermedia / Profimedia

Are you among those who decorate the house as soon as December starts or you are setting it up the Christmas tree at the last minute? Regardless of the answer, you may notice that your nose starts to run as soon as you put them on Christmas decorations.

"Although colds are synonymous with winter and it's not unusual to feel sick this time of year, a cold may not be the culprit behind a runny nose. A stuffy or runny nose, itchy and watery eyes, sneezing and coughing can also be signs of an allergy caused by Christmas decorations," Dr. Bhavini Shah told "Sun" (The Sun).

She explained that an allergy, which is an immune response, occurs when the immune system mistakenly identifies a harmless thing as harmful.

“The immune system then produces antibodies that fight the foreign cells by releasing chemical substances. It is these things that cause an allergic reaction," she added.

According to Dr. Shah, there are five reasons why seasonal allergies may occur at this time.

New Year syndrome

"New Year's syndrome" is a term used to describe allergic reactions or respiratory problems that some people experience when they are around real pine trees. The term refers to symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes, stuffy nose or even asthma attacks that can occur due to mold or other allergens that may be present on the pine.

Photo: Pexels/gustavo-fring

Dusty decorations

Decorations collect dust for 11 months, so it is not surprising that they can be a trigger for allergies. The doctor advises to wipe the ornaments with a damp cloth before bringing them into your home.

Dust mites

Dust mites come with dust. They are microscopic members of the spider family that feed on dead skin cells. They are tiny, harmless creatures, but their waste particles contain proteins that can cause allergic reactions in some people.

Common reactions include sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, itchy or watery eyes, cough or skin rash in more severe cases.

Mold spores

Another allergen that can stalk your home during Christmas is mold spores, which can cause allergic reactions such as sneezing, coughing, wheezing, itchy eyes or more serious respiratory problems when inhaled.

As Dr. Shah explained: “Mold spores can be present on Christmas trees, especially live trees such as pine, fir or spruce.

Christmas scented candles

Lighting a Christmas scented candle can be a nice touch to the evening and make your house smell delicious.

But unfortunately, chemicals and fragrances can cause allergies or allergic reactions in some, warned Dr. Shah.

The GP explained: “Many scented candles contain synthetic fragrances, colors and additives that release volatile organic compounds when burned. These chemicals can irritate the respiratory system, leading to symptoms such as coughing, sneezing or congestion."

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