Warning issued on festive tree syndrome

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SNEEZING, coughing and runny noses could be caused by your Christmas tree, a health expert has warned.

Airborne allergens specialist Max Wiseberg has said Portsmouth residents who suffer hayfever or allergy around Christmas may be feeling the effects from their festive tree.

Mr Wiseberg said there were steps people could take to reduce the risk.

He said: ‘Hosing down your tree before taking it into the house, or after getting it out of storage, can help get rid of some of the mould and spores – though it’s probably best to get someone who isn’t allergic to do this. You should also take care when decorating the tree, or again get someone else to do it, as allergens will be disturbed as you move the tree into position and move the branches to hang the baubles and add the lights.

‘Putting up the tree as late as possible will help minimise the risk, whilst an air purifier may also help.’

Mr Wiseberg said the condition, known as Christmas tree syndrome, affected around 35 per cent of people in the UK.