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Is Your Christmas Tree Lowering Your IAQ?

Is Your Christmas Tree Lowering Your IAQ?

The holidays are upon us once again, and many homeowners in the Delmarva area are decking the halls with the look that only a live Christmas tree can offer. Unfortunately, a live tree provides more than just natural beauty and a pleasant, piney aroma. It also brings in air pollutants that can significantly reduce your indoor air quality.

A Fuzzy Problem

A live tree is covered with mold spores, and once it’s in the warmth and relative humidity of your home, these spores begin to flourish. Indeed, a study performed by two researchers, Dr. Rebecca Gruchalla, M.D. and Dr. John Santilli, M.D., tested the mold count of the indoor air after a live Christmas tree had been present for two weeks. In this span of time, the researchers discovered that the amount of mold spores had jumped from 800 per cubic meter to a staggering 5,000 per cubic meter. Contrast this with the fact that the air in an average household contains only 600 spores in a cubic meter.

Increased Indoor Allergies

Another staggering discovery was made in another study from the State University of New York’s Upstate Medical University. During an analysis of bark and needles from nearly 30 live Christmas trees, researchers found that 70 percent of the trees tested harbored as many as 53 different species of mold.

It’s estimated that roughly 15 percent of Americans are allergic to different species of mold. In fact, doctors Rebecca Gruchalla and John Santilli had also noted that many of their patients complained most of indoor allergies around the Christmas season, reporting symptoms like burning, watery and itchy eyes, a runny, congested nose, sneezing, sinus problems and headaches. The doctors have begun suggesting that their patients avoid live trees and instead use plastic ones.

Increased Asthma Prevalence

High mold spore counts are hazardous enough for healthy people. However, people who struggle with asthma are at a particularly high risk. Dr. John Santilli found that among increases in patient complaints about allergies, there were also significantly more complaints of asthma attacks.

Quick Servant Can Help

A live Christmas tree can be a lovely way to decorate, but it can hurt your home’s air quality and make your holidays miserable. Besides choosing a fake tree instead of a live one, homeowners can also help reduce indoor allergens by installing a whole-house air purifier and scheduling routine cleaning and maintenance of their home’s heating system. To learn more ways you can improve your home’s IAQ, contact Quick Servant today.