Doctors are warning about ‘feather duvet lung’ after a man developed a sudden and severe reaction to his bedding.
Martin Taylor was left breathless, tired and unable to work within just a few months.
He had been previously healthy and initially doctors had no idea what was causing his symptoms.
The Scottish man had suddenly started to experience dizzy spells in late 2016 and he went to his doctor in November of that year.
But two months later, the 43-year-old still didn’t have a diagnosis – and he was getting much worse.
He wasn’t able to stand for more than a few minutes and he was so breathless, it took him 30 minutes to climb the stairs as he needed to sit down and rest every few steps.
He was referred to Dr Owen Dempsey, an expert in respiratory medicine at Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy and Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.
There, he was diagnosed with hypersensitivity pneumonitis – a severe allergic reaction in the lungs.
Tests showed that he was reacting to dust from bird feathers but the patient did not have any contact with birds and his only pets were a cat and a dog.
It was only on further investigation that they realised the cause might be his new duvet – he had switched from synthetic bedding to feather bedding just before his symptoms started.
He was prescribed steroids and switched his bedding and found that his breathing improved.
After 12 months, he was able to stop the steroids and now he says: ‘My oxygen saturation level nowadays is regularly 97%–98% which I understand to be normal for someone my age, and I have not had any dizzy turns since recovering.
‘It doesn’t affect me at all now and my life is pretty much as it was before.’
The condition was named ‘feather duvet lung’ and the doctors who treated him are warning medical professionals to be on the lookout for the condition.
Writing in a study published in the BMJ, they said that it’s important to ask about bedding if a patient has unexplained breathlessness as recognising the condition quickly could prevent irreversible scarring in the lung.
If you have changed your duvet and find that you aren’t reacting well, speak to your doctor and consider switching to another type.
Alternatives to feather duvets
If you think you are reacting to the feathers in your duvet, there are lots of synthetic options out there.
The eve sleep microfibre duvet – from £75
This duvet is synthetic but uses microfibre technology to create something that is still incredibly light and fluffy.
M&S feels like down duvet – from £65
This duvet promises the soft luxurious feeling of a natural feather duvet but it has a synthetic hollowfibre filling, leaving you warm and cosy without too much weight.
Aldi feels like down duvet – from £19.99
A budget-friendly option, this one has a microfibre filling inside a 233 thread count cotton cover. It’s breathable and hypoallergenic.
John Lewis & Partners synthetic soft touch washable 3-in-1 Duvet – from £50
This one is fully synthetic but still very soft. It’s a 13.5 tog duvet, which is great for winter but it can be separated into a 4.5 tog or 9 tog so it’s suitable for all seasons.
Slumberdown allergy protection duvet – from £22
This duvet has been approved by Allergy UK to help those with asthmas and dust mite allergies. It’s filled with polyester and is suitable for machine washing and tumble drying.
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