What about Christmas can make you sick? | Volunteer Mold and Indoor Air Quality
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What about Christmas can make you sick?

It’s that time of year again.

Maybe you have already dragged the boxes of decorations out of the basement or attic in anticipation of Advent and Thanksgiving.

It’s also likely that, as you pulled out those boxes stored for 11 months or so, you started sneezing and sniffling.  For folks with allergies digging out the ornaments can be a detour on the road to holiday cheer.  Here are some tips and some information on how to take better care of your self as you start to spread the holiday cheer.

1. Take the boxes outside first and clean and or dust off decorations.

2. Throw away the cardboard boxes you are storing things in.  Cardboard absorbs moisture like a sponge and mold   grows like crazy on it. 

3. If you have an artificial tree hose it off.  For those of you in the great white north take it in the shower and wash it down to get rid of all the dust and dust mites.

3. Wear and N-95 dust mask to keep from breathing the nastys.  I have tested my own trees and decorations and can tell you that decorations and artificial trees are full of dust and dust mites in addition to mold.

4. Clean off the ornaments.  Lets face it.  You have been using the same ones for years and short of my grandma who cleans ornaments.  Use soap and water when possible or dust throughly….. outside before you bring them in.

5.  Consider not putting a real live, actually real dead, Christmas tree in your house this year.  Many trees were cut weeks before the arrive at the store and have been stored stacked and packed in a moist area.  They carry with them a few years of mold and contaminants (sometimes bugs).  Some folks will set the live tree outside the front entrance of their homes to enjoy the look and smell as they come and go each day.  See more on trees and mold below.

A Recent Study by the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology…..

At a recent meeting in Dallas a study was released showing research on how a real Christmas tree impacts indoor air quality in our homes.  “Mold counts in indoor air rose five times the normal level within two weeks of setting up the trees indoors.”  “Christmas trees are another possible source of mold exposure during the holiday season”, said  immunologist Dr. Phillip Hemmers.  “Mold allergies peak in the fall, and we see anothe peak with a lot of mold sensitive patients during the holiday season.”  The findings of the study tie in to the presence of the tree.

Got a question about Mold or Indoor Air Quality?  Visit our Web site at www.volunteermold.com

Merry Christmas!

Bob Byrne  CHI,IAQI

Volunteer Mold and Indoor Air Quality

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