According to the American Christmas Tree Association, Christmas trees can carry about 50 different types of mould and can increase the number of mould spores in an apartment by more than six times.
And the longer the tree stays in your home, the higher the mould spore count can get.
UCLA Health warns this can trigger breathing issues as well as asthma attacks; coughing; sneezing; watery, itchy or sore eyes; and wheezing.
So, keeping Christmas trees clean is important for those with respiratory health conditions. But how on earth do you go about that?
Time to give your tree a wash
While some people have taken to bathing their trees in the tub, there are alternative (slightly less strenuous) options you might want to try first.
“If you have a natural tree, spraying it down with a hose before you bring it into the house will remove mould spores and hopefully reduce the growth rate,” says Dr Fernando.
“Just ensure that the tree is completely dry before you dress it with any Christmas lights.”
If you want to keep mould particles at bay, she also recommends popping an air-humidifier in the same room as your Christmas tree. And the good news is that if you have a real tree, this can help to keep it alive for longer, too.
An air purifier can also help to trap any pesky allergens lurking about.
With artificial trees, the doctor advises vacuuming or wiping down the tree before embarking on the more fun part that is decorating.
“Packing your tree up in an airtight bag will reduce the amount of dust that can gather before the next year, so you have more time to focus on your decoration placements,” she adds.
Here’s to a happy – and healthy – Christmas!