Your Duvet Could Be Killing You! What Folks Need to Know


That supersoft, down-filled bedding you’ve been looking forward to staying warm under all winter long could be the death of you. No, we’re not kidding.

A Scottish man almost died after sleeping for three months under a new duvet, according to a case study recently published in the medical journal BMJ. Martin Taylor, 43, mysteriously became constantly tired and had trouble breathing. It got so bad that the nonsmoker struggled for breath when doing simple things—even just walking between rooms in his home. He missed 14 days of work as a result.

The cause of his troubling illness? Taylor’s new feather-filled duvet and pillows. Be afraid!

It turns out Taylor had a rare case of “feather duvet lung” (FDL) disease, an allergy that inflames the lungs, making it difficult to breathe. The disease is caused when folks inhale the dust from goose or duck feathers stuffed into bedding, according to a 2010 research article in the International Archives of Allergy and Immunology.

Comforters and duvets, pillows, and even down-filled jackets can trigger the disease in otherwise healthy folks.

So should everyone steer clear of feather bedding? No, pulmonologist Dr. Owen Dempsey told the New York Times. (The Scottish doctor at the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary was the person who finally figured out what was plaguing Taylor and properly diagnosed him.) The great majority of people won’t develop such a serious allergy to feathers.

Plus, the effects of the disease aren’t usually permanent if it’s caught early enough. Taylor switched his bedding back to hypoallergenic synthetic materials and immediately began to recover. Within a year, he was back to normal, according to BMJ.

“Go ahead and buy [feather bedding] if you want,” Dempsey told the Times. “But if you get breathlessness or a cough, and it’s not settling within a few weeks of buying some feather bedding, you should mention it to a clinician.”

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Source: Housing Trends Feed