Pillows Can Contain Harmful Fungi

A recent study, reported by the BBC, shows the average pillow is home to a host of potentially-harmful fungi. A University of Manchester team found up to 16 types of fungi in pillows they analysed, the British Allergy journal reported. They said feather pillows had fewer species than synthetic versions, particularly in the case of a fungus which exacerbates asthma. Experts advise disinfecting pillows but say fungi occur in most environments.

The microscopic fungus Aspergillus fumigatus was particularly evident in synthetic pillows. This fungus commonly invades the lungs and sinuses and can worsen asthma. It is also known to cause infection in leukemia and bone marrow transplant patients.

Lead researcher Professor Ashley Woodcock said the findings showed there was a "miniature ecosystem" operating inside pillows. He added: "Since people spend a third of their life sleeping and breathing close to a potentially large and varied source of fungi, these findings certainly have important implications for patients with respiratory disease - especially asthma and sinusitis."

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