Background Feather bedding has long been considered as a potential source of allergen exposure and thus a potential risk factor for allergic diseases. However, recent cross-sectional studies have reported a higher risk of allergic diseases among users of synthetic bedding compared with feather-bedding users.
Objective To explore associations between early life exposure to feather bedding and the risk of developing asthma allergic rhinitis in childhood.
Methods We assessed the association between early life exposure to feather quilts and the risk of bronchial obstruction during the first 2 years of life and asthma and allergic rhinitis in a prospective 4-year cohort study of 2531 Norwegian children.
Results At the age of 6 months, 24% of the children had a quilt with feathers, decreasing to 20% at the age of 2 years. The adjusted odds ratio for bronchial obstruction 0 to 2 years by exposure to a feather quilt at the age of 6 months was 0.59, 95% confidence interval 0.41 to 0.86, for asthma at the age of 4 years 0.38, 0.23 to 0.64 and for allergic rhinitis at the age of 4 years 0.73, 0.43 to 1.18.
Conclusion The use of a feather quilt in early life does not seem to increase the risk of asthma and allergic rhinitis later in childhood.