Pine allergies require artificial trees

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pine treeRAPID CITY — If you or your family members seem to come down with colds every year at Christmas time, you might want to think about replacing that fresh-cut tree with an artificial one, according to a local allergy doctor.

“If someone is allergic to pine pollen, they will also be allergic to the smell of the pine — both the trees and the greens that you have in arrangements,” Dr. Gerti Janss said. And if you’re allergic to pine, you’re allergic to spruce. “They’re from the same family.”

Pine pollen allergies are common, Janss said, even though people might not realize they have them. Some people suffer when pollen flies in the spring and early summer. Others can’t do woodworking projects with pine boards.

And although some may miss the smell of fresh pine, people who find their eyes watering or nose running when they’re near the Christmas tree should switch to an artificial one, Janss said.

Janss also recommends storing Christmas ornaments and artificial trees in dust-proof containers. “The dust can cause more problems than the actual pine trees,” she said.

Allergies might account for part of the increase in artificial -tree sales in recent years. According to an MSNBC story, in 1990, 34.5 million homes had real trees and 36.3 million had artificial trees. By 2000, 50.6 million homes had gone to artificial trees, with 32 million displaying live trees.

At Campbell Supply in Sturgis, manager Leo Frehse has seen about a 20 percent increase in artificial-tree sales this year. “They last a little longer than real ones,” he said. “The price of the real ones is getting higher and higher.”

After having real Christmas trees for years, he and his wife bought an artificial tree three years ago — and haven’t looked back. “We just got tired of cleaning up the mess,” he said.

source - Rapid City