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3 Hidden Christmas Asthma Triggers

3 Hidden Christmas Asthma Triggers

In the old days, there were no asthma blogs. There were no online asthma communities. So, our doctors would help us out the best they could. But, the rest was up to us. Much of what we asthmatics learned of our diseases was by trial and error. A perfect example here is learning about the three hidden asthma triggers.

Three hidden triggers

  1. Christmas decorations

    Dust mites are ugly little creepy and crawly critters. They sort of look like spiders. But, you cannot see them. They feed off flakes of human skin. So, they are live on pretty much any surfaces formerly touched by human fingers.

    A good place for them to grow is in boxes where Christmas decorations are stored. You store these boxes in places such as basements. During the summer months, it gets hot and humid. And, so, dust mites rapidly multiply. So, fast forward to the day after Thanksgiving. You move these boxes out of the basement. You open them up to see what’s inside. And, all along, you are unknowingly inhaling dust mites feces. If you’re allergic like I am, these might trigger asthma symptoms.

    The solution: Christmas ornaments should be stored in air-tight plastic containers. If they aren’t, you might be better off having someone else take on this holiday chore.

  2. Real Christmas trees

    Christmas trees grow outside. They also get wet. Mold spores are easily aerosolized. Some spores land on Christmas trees. They love water. Mold pretty much grows anywhere there’s water. So, mold can easily grow on wet Christmas trees. Some mold may be visible. But, mold spores are not. Mold spores can get into the air.  You move the tree any little bit, and they are easily aerosolized into your home. They can be inhaled. So, if you are allergic to them, they can easily trigger asthma.

    The solution: Get a fake tree.

  3. Fake Christmas trees

    Yes, you heard me right. Fake Christmas trees are recommended if you have asthma. At least, they are my recommendation by me. But, even fake trees can trigger asthma. Why? Well, for the same reason decorations do. Yes, that’s right! Human hands touch fake trees.

    Those pesky little dust mites love flakes of human skin. So, you store a fake tree and dust mites feast on flakes of skin. They multiply during the humid summer months. So, you open the box the following year. You start putting the tree together. And, as you do, dust mite feces are aerosolized. You inhale them. And, if you have dust mite allergies, they can trigger asthma symptoms.

    The solution: Buy a new tree every year. Give your old tree to charity. Good Will or Salvation army will accept them. Or, better yet, have someone who doesn’t have asthma remove them from storage. Have that person put them up. Or, an even better option is to wash the tree. Near the end of summer, have someone remove the tree from storage. Take it outside. And wash all the parts with water from the hose. Doing this should remove most of the dust mites. Then you should be able to set it up with no problem.

What to make of this?

Like many asthmatics, I learned about these on my own. Unfortunately for the me of the past, it took many asthma experiences before I caught on. Thankfully, today we have access to asthma communities like ours. We can share our experiences and learn from each other. And that’s what I’m attempting to do here. Don’t let these hidden asthma triggers spoil your Christmas fun. Have a Merry Christmas!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • JanetH
    1 year ago

    Two years ago, hubby bought me a 4′ artificial tree w/lights per my request. The first year, we dismantled it, put it back in its back, and the ornaments in their plastic boxes. Last year, while unpacking basement ornaments and getting slight asthma/allergy symptoms, I thought, this is stupid. I’m going to see if I can store this stuff UPSTAIRS. (Mainly dragging stuff from basement and unpacking it triggers me; not so much once stuff is out. Shoulda asked hubby to do it, but you know, sometimes you get started on a project and don’t think to don a mask…) Anyway, after the holiday was over, I made room on the 2nd fl. for the little tree. We covered it with large plastic trash bags, but it’s not airtight, which is probably good. At least it keeps out some of the dust. I put all my favorite ornaments on it last year. It is decorated all year, somewhat protected from dust, and easy to set back up. Doesn’t seem to cause me a problem. I also made storage room for other Christmas items such as knickknacks, kitchen towels, etc. The latter always had to be washed after being brought upstairs. Now, after final washing before storage, they go into a file cabinet drawer, and that’s that for them. I still have a few things in the basement, but much, much less. Hubby keeps lights down there still, but he’s not asthmatic.

  • Shellzoo
    1 year ago

    Today at the local craft store someone next to me was buying cinnamon coated pine cones that triggered my asthma and some nice coughing. All those scented Christmas products can be a problem too!

  • Samuel Taylor moderator
    1 year ago

    That’s a common trigger. Especially the really strong scents like cinnamon and pine.Those get me too, Shellzoo, sorry you had a bit of a flare up today. Best of luck through the holidays, they can be tough with a lot of triggers.

    -Samuel, Team

  • Leon Lebowitz, RRT moderator
    1 year ago

    Hi Shellzoo and thanks for this post. What were you able to do to deal with your coughing from these triggers? I know you’ve been successful in managing your condition all along. Please let us hear back from you. Leon (site moderator)

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