If you are feeling sniffly or sneezy this Holiday Season it might not be the cold or the flu.  Instead, allergists suggest it could be dust mites that have been living all year in your stored decorations.

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“It’s the debris they leave behind-- it's actually their feces,” said Dr. Farnaz Tabatabaian, an allergist with USF Health.

She said those dust mites aren’t attracted to the decorations themselves but likely what you store them inside.


“This is stuff that’s been out in storage for like a year now so it does carry dust,” Dr. Tabatabaian said.  “While the synthetic tree itself is not the home for dust mites, being in a box or if it has a fabric around it can be the problem.  If someone has underlining allergies or asthma… it can trigger those symptoms.”

Real Christmas trees can cause similar problems. They could be covered in ragweed pollen from northern states or even mold spores.

“If it’s at higher contents when it's inside the home it can cause you to become more sneezy or trigger some of your asthma symptoms.”


To be extra safe, it is siggested that allergy sensitive families use a spray bottle filled with water to spritz down the tree or even add a small capful of chlorine to the tree’s water reservoir.


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