Doctors warn of danger of ‘feather duvet lung’

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One of the report’s authors said many cases of feather duvet lung could go undiagnosed. Photograph: Getty Images

(Nicola Davis/ The Guardian) — As winter approaches it might be tempting to curl up under a thick feather duvet, but experts have warned it might lead to more than just warm toes.

Doctors have reported a case of “feather duvet lung” – a lung inflammation caused by breathing in dust from the feathers in bedding – and have called for medical professionals to be on the alert if patients turn up with unexplained breathlessness.

The team say the condition, a form of hypersensitivity pneumonitis, is down to an immune response. Symptoms include night sweats, a dry cough and shortness of breath – repeated exposure to the cause can cause irreversible scarring of the lungs.

“Healthcare professionals are typically taught to ask patients with respiratory symptoms whether they have pets at home, such as birds, but in the authors’ experience, history-taking does not usually extend to asking about feather exposure in duvets and pillows,” they write. “This is an important omission since the use of feather, rather than synthetic, bedding is common.” (…)

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