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.