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House dust mite allergen in pillows

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: (Published 12 October 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:916
  1. T J Kemp, research fellowa,
  2. R W Siebers, senior technical officera,
  3. D Fishwick, research fellowa,
  4. G B O'Grady, studenta,
  5. P Fitzharris, senior lecturera,
  6. J Crane, professorial research fellowa
  1. a Wellington Asthma Research Group, Department of Medicine, Wellington School of Medicine, PO Box 7343, Wellington South, New Zealand
  1. Correspondence to: Mr Siebers.
  • Accepted 11 June 1996

For many years asthmatic patients have been told to avoid using feather filled pillows on their beds, although there is no evidence to support this practice. Strachan and Carey's case-control study is the first to have directly challenged this assumption.1 This study showed that, after exclusion of asthmatic subjects whose bedding had been changed because of their disease, pillows with synthetic fillings were a risk factor for severe asthma. In the light of this finding, we have compared pillows with synthetic and feather fillings for their content of Der p I, the major allergen of the house dust mite Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus.

Methods and results

In December 1995 we took dust samples from nine pairs of pillows and analysed them for Der p I. Each pair consisted of one feather filled pillow and one …

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