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Readers Respond: Do Poinsettia Plants Make You Sick?

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Poinsettias Make Me Sick!!

This is the first year I have worked in an assisted living building which last week brought in at least 50 Poinsettia plants. after 3 days of breaking out in a rash, feeling dizzy and feeling my throat become scratchy and slightly swollen, I went to urgent care and they agreed I was allergic to the plants. My job however will not remove them and the doctors have me on Prednisone but will not release me back to work until the plants are gone. So much for my christmas this year! Never ignore any allergic reaction!!
—missy520

Poinsettias Cause Scratchy Eyes, Throat

It has been many years, but I have figured out I also have allergy-related symptoms similar to others in these comments: scratchy eyes, tickle in my throat. Our church has about 25 of them. I sing in the choir and this is a real problem for me. I have used eye drops, nasal spary, and zyrtec.
—Guest Cliff

OMG I am NOT Crazy!

I have been dealing with this for over 15 years. Started when I worked in the mall and would get sick daily. My ex-inlaws think it is funny and my ex-husband has them in his house. I had a really bad reaction to my kids clothes when they came home from 1 1/2 days with him... Most people I meet think I am nuts and making it up. It is nice to know I am not the only one. There HAS to be something we can do to get these plants banished from public places. I feel like a prisoner from Halloween until January (The plant was in stores the week before Halloween this year).. I am miserable and nothing seems to make it go away except to sit in my house... The frustration and lack of respect for this allergy has made me hate Christmas... :( I too thank places that have fake ones and when I tell them about my allergy they are in disbelief and have never heard of it before... I have had doctors tell me to "Deal with it for 2 months".. going to have to start carrying an epi pen myself.
—Guest Tracy

Seriously allergic

I was in church during Christmas time, there were probably over 100 plants on the altar, and my mother noticed that I was scratching my face and throat, I was wheezing and I was completely covered in hives. I left church, went outside and the symptoms cleared up almost immediately. Symptoms - itchy throat that soon starts to close, burning hives/rash which starts on face and neck, nose runs and eyes start to itch, coughing, finally trouble breathing. This has been a problem in all of my workplaces. I have to ask for them to remove the poinsettias and sometimes I have issues with people not believing me or doubting how serious this allergy is. They would never fill a room with peanuts if someone was deathly allergic. I am also allergic to latex and one time while driving through the desert in Arizona north of Phoenix I had similar symptoms, while the Oleanders were in bloom. Are the plants related?
—Guest Kaitlin

Strong Sensitivity to Poinsettias

I thought for years that it was the real Christmas tree that was causing problems, but turned out to be our poinsettia plants. I have the same reaction to newsprint - dry, achy eyes with extremely blurry vision, painful joints and muscles, numbness in hands and feet, fast heart rate, and generally feeling ill. I figured this out because I cleared the house today of Christmas stuff but not the poinsettia plants - still felt bad. Then moved the plants to the basement and started feeling better within an hour. Will give them away tonight...
—113Lori

Like Mother, Like Daughter

Growing up I was never around poinsettias, as my mom has a severe allergy, so we never knew I was allergic as well. In 2005 I started working as a bank teller, and Christmas poinsettias were placed at each teller window and throughout the entire bank. I became sick instantly upon arriving to work with a sore throat, itchy watering eyes, trouble breathing and intense headaches. When I went home that evening I started to feel better and was fine the next morning -- until I arrived back at work. Again that night I felt fine and mentioned it to my mom, who asked if we got poinsettias at the bank, and that was our eureka moment. Sadly, the bank didn’t take my allergy seriously and told me to "tough it out" til after Christmas, so I worked the rest of the season in a Benadryl-induced haze and still felt the effects of the allergy.
—Guest Amanda

Poinsettia Allergy Is TOO Scary

I am allergic to poinsettias. We discovered this in high school when my school did a poinsettia plant sale. My mother said I would break out in hives, get headaches, and become extremely nauseated. I could never be around them when I walked past the displays at stores because I would get asthma attacks. I found out later in college that I was allergic to latex. I have a ton of food allergies, many of which are related to latex. The fact this is such a deathly allergy for me now makes my peanut allergy less scary but it's still scary. Is there no solution?
—ses1978

Poinsettias Are "Poisonous," After All

48 with almost 0 known allergies. Not allergic to latex. A month ago I acquired 2 poinsettias as I always have for several years. Shortly after, thought I'd gotten poison ivy from cutting firewood that had vines on it. Took a long time to clear up. Kept getting re-infected and attributed it to contaminated gloves. Washed them, but problem continued. Then I began to notice respiratory problems. Thought I was getting a cold. After coughing all night I couldn't take it anymore and sought medical attention. Was driving to the DR office and 10 miles down the road, the coughing stopped, lungs began to clear and started to feel better. I recognized it as an allergic reaction. Researched it on the Web and narrowed it down to poinsettias. I removed them from the house and am almost back to normal. I now realize the rash I had was caused by the white milky substance from the poinsettias. I also had a mild case of hives one night after watering them. Its no wonder the term "poison" has been used with this plant for years.
—Guest Troy

Poinsettia Allergy No Myth

It is very nice to hear that there are many others with this same allergy. When I tell people about my poinsettia plant allergy the typical reaction is disbelief because it is seldom talked about. Over the past few years my poinsettia plant allergy has gotten progressively worse, and last year when "it" arrived in our office, within 2 hours I was having difficulty breathing and went home where I stayed for 3 days. I too now carry an epipen, and unfortunately I will not be able to enjoy the Christmas services at church I have always look forward to. I pay close attention to going into stores where poinsettia plants are on display and have learned my symptoms and know when one is near.
—Guest M.O. West

Do Poinsettia Plants Make You Sick?

I couldn't figure out why I got nasal congestion, sore throat and itchy eyes. I finally took my two poinsettias outside and am feeling better already. It doesn't seem to have happened before, but I may not have made the connection. Usually my allergies are due to pollen.
—Guest Marian

Poinsettias Make Me Itch, Swell Up

I work in a department store and we have a large display of poinsettia plants in our floral department. The first day we had them I felt awful: stuffy nose, shortness of breath and very itchy. After figuring out what was bothering me, I then proceeded to ask my coordinator to scan the plant for me, since I'm a cashier. Still just being around it or touching something that touched it bothers me. My hands will swell up as well. Some coworkers think it's bull and that I'm making it up, so they decided to rub one all over my coat. My arms have huge welts on them right now, and I'm having a very hard time breathing.
—Guest jellie

Poinsettias Make Me Deathly Sick!

Growing up, we always thought my "Christmas allergy" was the tree. It wasn't until my early 30's that I figured out it was the poinsettia plants. My employer at the time had HUGE poinsettia displays and after day one I had trouble breathing. My doctor's office thinks it is funny and says they will make sure there is no plant in the room with me . However, I can tell when they are in the building without even seeing them! Every November I know when they are in the stockrooms. My current employer does not have the plants in the office, so that helps. I usually have to get a shot mid December that lasts a month. I try to make it till then because people just don't get rid of them. Until today I did not know there was a connection to latex. My throat gets sore and constricts in the doctor's office and I have just thought it was nerves.....maybe it's the latex instead. Anyway....glad to know I am not alone.
—Guest Barb

Poinsettia Plants Give Me Hives

Last year a family member had a beautiful poinsettia plant delivered to us. I put it on display on our dining room table. For a whole month, only at night time- from about dinner until morning, I would break out in large hives all over my body. I went to the doctor (during the day of course when I didn't have the hives) and showed him pictures of all the hives. He just wrote me a prescription for prednazone and sent me on my way...never did any tests. We couldn't figure out what was causing the allergic reaction. After Jan 1st, we threw our poinsettia plant away and that night was the first night I did not get hives anymore. I had never heard of an allergy to poinsettia plants before, and I am not allergic to latex. So weird!
—Guest Lindsay

Airborne: Can't Breath Near Poinsettias

I recently had a trip to the hospital for poinsettia plants and it is hard to get anyone to believe me that I am allergic to them. It is airborne, not from touching them. It affects my respiratory system, not my epidermis. Well I am going to print this out and take all the comments to my boss. Thanks for the info.
—Guest alias

Poinsettia Plants and Latex Allergy

I have a latex problem, I think, as my mom has told me. I was in a Home Depot and I really wanted to take off a leaf of a poinsettia plant. The next day I'm having watery eyes, a headache, itchy throat, and a stuffy nose. Is it just a coincidence that I just happen to get sick the day after I got the milky stuff on my hands?
—Guest Bailey

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