CHRISTMAS is meant to be a time for fun and joy.
Pharmacist Sultan Dajani said one of the main ailments you could develop is ‘Christmas tree syndrome‘.
He explained: “Christmas Tree Syndrome describes a health condition of increased allergic reactions when you put up your Christmas tree and decorate it.
“Symptoms include runny nose, sneezing, and coughing, and also include symptoms that are similar to hay fever, such as itchy, watery eyes with dark circles under them.
“You may also develop a skin rash, which is known as Christmas Tree dermatitis.”
Sultan, from eyecare brand GoldenEye, said you could also be at risk from your decorations and lights.
Dust mites are one of the most common respiratory allergens and they can be carried into the house on both Christmas trees (both real and artificial) and on the decorations and light, he explained.
This could leave you with a runny nose, watery eyes and sneezing.
He added that you might also develop a rash due to Christmas tree sap.
“If you develop a rash at Christmas, you may be allergic to Christmas tree sap.
“This material can cause a rash similar to that caused by poison ivy. It develops within a couple of days after touching the Christmas tree,” he explained.
Mould on your Christmas tree could also leave you with respiratory issues, the expert said.
“A study found more than 50 kinds of mould on samples researchers brought in from their own Christmas trees.
“An artificial tree may be no better if it is dusty or stored in a damp garage, basement, or attic where mould could grow.
“As the tree is brought into the house, the warmer environment causes moulds to grow. The study above found a 6 fold increase in mould when the Christmas tree was brought into the room and levels of mould did not fall until the tree was removed.”
When it comes to decorations and little ornaments, it’s important to supervise your children with them at all times in order to avoid a possible choking or poison hazard, experts at the National Capital Poison Center in the US said.
They explained: “Glass Christmas ornaments can be attractive to young children and can break easily.
“Stepping or crawling on the glass is a problem, but some ornaments also contain lead, mercury, or methylene chloride, which can poison children if they touch, taste, or swallow them.
“Even though they are sharp, small glass pieces usually pass through the digestive tract uneventfully.”
They added that some types of lights may also be dangerous.
Experts said ‘bubble lights’ which were popular in the 1970s could be poisonous.
“When the lights were turned on and warmed, little bubbles would circulate through the lights. Although bubble lights were charming, the fluid inside was a poison—methylene chloride, which is the major ingredient in many paint strippers.
“When swallowed or even touched, this liquid will be converted to carbon monoxide in the body.
“Keep the original packaging for bubble lights if their ingredients are listed. Early signs of carbon monoxide poisoning include dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, and headache,” they added.
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