The holidays are upon us again and for many of us there is no better way of getting into the Christmas spirit than bringing in a Christmas tree. A tree brings so much to the Christmas feeling with its lights, decorations and distinct scent of pine. But can your Christmas tree affect your indoor air quality negatively and even be a hazard to your health? If that is the case, what can you do about it?
A Christmas tree adds mold spores to your indoor air
A study made by The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology states that a Christmas tree can be related to poor indoor air quality due to an increased mold spore count. Especially after a few days inside. During the first three days of the study the mold spore count was 800 spores per cubic meter (m3). That’s slightly over the World Health Organization’s recommendation of below 500 spores/m3. But after the fourth day the spore count increased, peaking at 5,000 spores/m3 on day 14.
Is this dangerous?
This sounds alarming but, according to an article from ABC News commenting the study, a Christmas tree isn’t a problem for most people, not even for the ones with allergies. And if you are sensitive to mold you can still have a tree but keeping it for a shorter period of time of about 4-7 days.
Should I get an artificial tree instead then?
An artificial tree is an alternative if you are mold sensitive but an artificial tree has its own challenges. If it’s stored in an attic or a basement it can still collect dust and mold spores. Especially if its stored in a cardboard packaging. According to American Christmas Tree Association, artificial trees can also be made by materials that can cause sinus irritation for those who are especially sensitive.
What can you do?
If you are experiencing sneezes or a running nose, or if you know that you are sensitive to indoor plants due to allergy or asthma there are things that you can do to be able to enjoy the pleasure of having a Christmas tree during the festive season.
- Make sure that you have a well-functioning ventilation system. This will do away with a lot of the mold spores.
- Shake your tree outdoors before bringing it into your house. This reduces the dust and spores brought inside.
- Change the water for your tree regularly. It can help reducing mold and algae growth.
- Keep your tree indoors for a shorter period of time. The mold spores increases over time.
Get to know more about indoor air quality in the blog post 5 facts about indoor air quality