The Charity for Environmental Illness

Tips for the Festive Season

Christmas Trees

Pine pollen is a major allergy trigger for some people. Fir, spruce, or cypress may be a better bet. The Leyland Cyprus is a sterile hybrid tree, which means it does not produce any pollen. Although it will still release terpenes (the pine smell) which is unlikely to be tolerated by people with MCS. Wash your tree: spray off your tree with water and allow to dry overnight in the garage before putting it up. This will remove some of the loose mould and pollen that is on the tree. Allow it to dry before bringing indoors. Artificial Trees: Wipe it down: Artificial trees may harbour dust and mould from storage. Wipe them down with a dust cloth, or take them outside and hose them off if they are not pre-lit. Choose a tree with less off-gassing: Some new artificial trees are made of moulded polyethylene (PE) instead of PVC, which may have lower levels of out-gassing. These trees are very realistic, but tend to be more expensive than PVC trees. Try an eco-friendly alternative tree: Some of the creative alternative trees have a modernist design, others are more basic. All are a fun solution to the Christmas tree dilemma, or why not find a suitable branch to bring in and decorate?

Christmas Decorations:

Dust your ornaments: Christmas ornaments will have been sitting in a box all year, and may be coated in dust or mould. If possible, unwrap them outside to avoid spreading dust inside your home. Wipe them off with a soft cloth before hanging. At the end of the season, wrap your ornaments in new paper, rather than re-using old, dusty paper. Clean your wreaths: Artificial wreaths can be vacuumed or dusted with a soft cloth. Avoid scented candles: Scented candles can cause stuffy noses and irritated lungs. If you crave a little atmosphere with your holiday meals, try unscented beeswax, vegetable wax, or LED candles and tea-lights.

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