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ACAAI: Christmas Tree Allergens May Put a Damper on Holidays

Atopic patients report more symptoms, possibly due to mold spores from Christmas trees

MONDAY, Nov. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Christmas trees may be a source of mold allergens that can affect atopic patients during the holiday season, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Asthma, Allergy, & Immunology in Philadelphia.

Michael Alexander, M.D., of Niagara Falls, Canada, and colleagues recruited patients with seasonal allergic rhinoconjunctivitis due to either pollen or mold allergens to investigate allergy symptoms caused by Christmas trees. Four patients completed questionnaires before, during and after the holiday season, and their responses were compared to non-atopic control subjects who did not celebrate the Christmas season. The authors did not report on a non-exposed, atopic control group.

Atopic patients reported significantly more conjunctival itching and erythema, nasal itching and sneezing than control subjects. Three out of four of the subjects reported use of antihistamines, nasal spray or eye drops to relieve their symptoms. Air sampling showed increased mold spores after introduction of Christmas trees.

"Patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis can experience symptoms with the introduction of a Christmas tree in their homes," the authors conclude. "Christmas trees are a significant source of allergens, particularly mold."

Abstract #P200

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