The use of a feather quilt, childhood asthma and allergic rhinitis: a prospective cohort study

Clin Exp Allergy. 2002 Aug;32(8):1150-4. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2745.2002.01415.x.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / adverse effects*
  • Animals
  • Animals, Domestic
  • Asthma / etiology*
  • Bedding and Linens*
  • Birth Order
  • Breast Feeding
  • Bronchial Hyperreactivity
  • Child, Preschool
  • Feathers*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Norway
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Perennial / etiology*
  • Risk
  • Social Class


  • Allergens