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Readers Respond: Do Poinsettia Plants Make You Sick?

Responses: 52

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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

Pointsettia Allergy, Asthma

I'm sorry so many have the same problem as I do. Poinsettias make my allergies very bad and also make me have an asthma attack. I love these plants, but they can be very dangerous for those who are allergic to them. I'd like to wish you all a safe and Merry Christmas!
—Guest Sher

Holiday Hermit

I get a burning facial rash, wheezing, dizziness, and terrible sinus problems from being around poinsettia plants. Every year when they appear in November, I abandon all public places where real poinsettias are on display, and my husband takes over the grocery shopping and any other errands to these places. I also make a point of thanking stores, banks, etc who use artificial poinsettias instead of real ones, explaining my allergy, and I direct my holiday shopping dollars to these businesses to show my gratitude. It works, too --- I've talked several stores into using silk poinsettia plants instead of real ones, and they all tell me that other customers have thanked them for making the switch!
—Guest Sara

It's True: Poinsettias Make Me Sick

Just today I decided to see if there was such a thing as an allergy to poinsettias, I Googled away, my co-workers thought I was crazy (I can tell by their expressions), but for the last few days, by the end of the morning I have a stuffed up nose, eyes are red and blurry vision and the worst headache ever. I went home last week feeling bad but never put the 2 together -- that is was due to poinsettia plants. Now that I've mentioned it to co-workers we'll see tomorrow.
—Guest Sidra

Hospital Trip and Unaware

I was unaware of this allergy until today when I returned home with a poinsettia plant given to me as a present. This was the first time I've ever touched one. I have a latex allergy, and within 2 hours my body was covered in a rash, eyes watering, but worse my face started to swell,and breathing became really, really difficult. The swelling continued and my lips and face went black. My husband gave me salbutamol inhalers and piriton tablets whilst summoning an emergency ambulance, which arrived and took me post haste to A&E. After adrenaline and more piriton I was allowed home. No more poinsettias from now on!
—JannyJay57

Poinsettias Make Me Itch All Over

I am also very glad I found this site. I couldn't believe it the first time I reacted to the poinsettia at my parents' house. I'd never shown any sign of a reaction to poinsettia plants before. That was 9 years ago. 1 year ago I started reacting to latex as well. My reaction is certainly not deadly, but it is uncomfortable. My sinuses fill up, my eyes get puffy, my throat constricts, and I itch all over.
—Guest Christine

Sick of People Thinking I'm Crazy

I’m glad I came across this site. I am so happy to hear from other people who understand. I feel like I am dying right now and want to cry. My building had tons of poinsettia plants in the hallway. I tried to hold my breath as I got to the elevator and the doors closed but I haven’t been able to catch my breath and it's been 45 minutes. It's complete torture and because its so rare people think I am crazy. I used to have asthma as a premie and was deathly allergic to poinsettias. But as I grew older the asthma and the allergy went away. Then 3 years ago I went to my aunt’s house and she had them in every corner of her multi-story house. Then it hit me and I couldn’t breath and since then it's just gotten worse. I really wish I could do something.
—Guest Alicia

Can't Shop During Poinsettia Season

My world just got smaller again today. It has been happening for the last 4 years. Poinsettias are now in my church. I left and will return after service to pick up my husband and daughter. At work we have a “poinsettia plan” where when they appear on my unit in a resident’s room, they get another nurse to take over and I report to occupational health and go on the rtw plan. Then I go back to work to a ventilated room without poinsettias and work there for the next 6 weeks until they convince the resident to let them get rid of it as the holiday season is now over. As for shopping, I usually stock up on foods before the season starts and then my husband picks up the milk, eggs and breads. Gift giving is restricted to gift cards. For all those who have to deal with this, you have my empathy. Thankfully, it only lasts 6-8 weeks of the year.
—Guest Julie

Stores: Put Up Poinsettia Warning Signs

I've only had difficulty with Poinsettias for 5 years. My throat gets itchy and swells. Every time I go in a store my sinuses start running, I constantly clear my throat and my throat itches. This year was the worst. I made sure that I took Allergy meds 1/2 hour before I left home. I would still get the itchy feeling in my throat, a metalic taste in my mouth, sometimes it would feel like something was stabbing my throat and I would almost lose my voice. People don't believe me most of the time. I even had a person bring 1 into the school I work in this year and she said I would be fine as long as I do not touch it. That is so far from the truth. I started losing my voice instantly, my throat started feeling like it was closing. People will not listen and do not care if it does not affect them. People need to be more aware of this and my hope is that some day stores will have to put up warning signs if they have poinsettias in them.
—Guest Tatem

Poinsettia Plants Make Me Light-Headed

I have been experiencing a strange light-headness for about 3 weeks. This has been happening only when I’m in church. I get clammy and feel like I’m going to pass out. My roommate and I have been wracking our brains trying to figure out what’s different… the only thing we came up with is that the church is filled with poinsettias for the holiday season. After reading everyone’s stories, I’m pretty sure that must be it! We’ll see for sure next week when they take all of them away:)
—Guest Chris Coyle

Latex Allergic, Sick From Gift

Thank you so much for your article. I was getting sick from a poinsettia plant delivered just before christmas. I suspected the plant when my throat got a tickle around my kitchen area. My Blood Pressure spiked and I knew it was from something chemical, I am latex allergic. I never suspected a plant could cause chemical-like symptoms. I am a chemical sensitive victim recovering from a diesel fuel leak. I thought I was doing very well until the this plant incident. Thank you so much.
—Guest jeannine

Allergic to Poinsettias, Not Work!

Wow, sure glad I googled this. I loved the ‘poison-etta’ post. I work at a lobby desk that is currently surrounded by large white Poinsettia plants – dozens of them. I’m so sick by the time my shift is over I spend my whole night recuperating enough to go back in again. This has been going on for several weeks and I finally made the connection. I experience horrible headaches during my shift and for hours afterward. My sinuses, eyes, teeth and glands are all very sensitive during this and I’m fine except for cold symptoms for the 4-5 hours before my next shift starts. So thanks, now I know I’m NOT allergic to work – just to Christmas!
—Guest Ed

Not Alone in Poinsettia Plant Sickness

It’s good to know that I’m not alone in this! I sweat like crazy, get light headed, have breathing problems, and my hands swell up painfully and turn bright red. I can usually last about an hour in the stores at this time of year. Poinsettia plants also affect my mum and one brother to varying degrees.
—Guest Dee

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