Skip to comments.Pillows - a hot bed of fungal spores
Posted on 10/17/2005 3:26:05 PM PDT by LibWhacker
Researchers at The University of Manchester funded by the Fungal Research Trust have discovered millions of fungal spores right under our noses - in our pillows.
Aspergillus fumigatus, the species most commonly found in the pillows, is most likely to cause disease; and the resulting condition Aspergillosis has become the leading infectious cause of death in leukaemia and bone marrow transplant patients. Fungi also exacerbate asthma in adults.
The researchers dissected both feather and synthetic samples and identified several thousand spores of fungus per gram of used pillow - more than a million spores per pillow.
Fungal contamination of bedding was first studied in 1936, but there have been no reports in the last seventy years. For this new study, which was published online today in the scientific journal Allergy, the team studied samples from ten pillows with between 1.5 and 20 years of regular use.
Each pillow was found to contain a substantial fungal load, with four to 16 different species being identified per sample and even higher numbers found in synthetic pillows. The microscopic fungus Aspergillus fumigatus was particularly evident in synthetic pillows, and fungi as diverse as bread and vine moulds and those usually found on damp walls and in showers were also found.
Professor Ashley Woodcock who led the research said: "We know that pillows are inhabited by the house dust mite which eats fungi, and one theory is that the fungi are in turn using the house dust mites' faeces as a major source of nitrogen and nutrition (along with human skin scales). There could therefore be a 'miniature ecosystem' at work inside our pillows."
Aspergillus is a very common fungus, carried in the air as well as being found in cellars, household plant pots, compost, computers and ground pepper and spices.
Invasive Aspergillosis occurs mainly in the lungs and sinuses, although it can spread to other organs such as the brain, and is becoming increasingly common across other patient groups. It is very difficult to treat, and as many as 1 in 25 patients who die in modern European teaching hospitals have the disease.
Immuno-compromised patients such as transplantation, AIDS and steroid treatment patients are also frequently affected with life-threatening Aspergillus pneumonia and sinusitis. Fortunately, hospital pillows have plastic covers and so are unlikely to cause problems, but patients being discharged home - where pillows may be old and fungus-infected - could be at risk of infection.
Aspergillus can also worsen asthma, particularly in adults who have had asthma for many years, and cause allergic sinusitis in patients with allergic tendencies. Constant exposure to fungus in bed could be problematic. It can also get into the lung cavities created by tuberculosis which affects a third of the world's population, causing general ill-health and bleeding in the lung, as well as causing a range of plant and animal diseases.
Dr Geoffrey Scott, Chairman of the Fungal Research Trust which funded the study, said: "These new findings are potentially of major significance to people with allergic diseases of the lungs and damaged immune systems - especially those being sent home from hospital."
Professor Ashley Woodcock added: "Since patients 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."
Between this and the toenail ads, I think I've lost my appetite for the week.
I read somewhere that after a year 1/2 the weight of a pillow is dustmites . . .
I love my Aspergillus fumigatus. They taste good with olive oil.
But they're my fungal spores!
That toenail ad IS disgusting isn't it??...lol
At least the fungus in my pillow is my fungus. No telling whose fungus is in hotel pillows.
Now how the heck am I going to get to sleep!?
I got fungi growing in my pillows that eat those fungi for breakfast
and I am on good terms with them
re: hotel pillows - so true... man I hope I forget about this article before my next hotel stay
Well at least it wasn't
The scary thing is, they're there, you just can't see THEM!!!
Nasty! I'm heading to the store tonight, my pillows have been around a while.LOL
Surely the pillow cases protect us from inhaling this crap...?
and what happened then??
Thanks for that mental picture. Now I am going to have to lay awake all night worrying about this....
With a potential enemy ready to assault me from every direction.
Who in the world would keep the same pillow
for TWENTY YEARS!
The same people who keep mattresses for 20 years..
Is this anything like the secret formula monosodium glutomate??
If our pillows are full of this crap, what's in our mattresses?
Oh NO??? Remember they aren't just filthy, they're
"We're All Gonna Die!!!!!!"
Still, I suppose you could get some of that stuff from
the drug store, you know where the label says,
APPLY LIBERALLY TO INFESTED AREA.
or should that be?
APPLY to LIBERAL INFESTED AREA?
How you you know?
Answer.......cause it's BLUE!
It's awful. This animated thing is running around someone's foot, then it lifts up the nail and hops into the bed. I feel like retching every time I see it.
King Vanity has a trach, suffers from lung spasms and asthema but NOT a history of infections in lungs or sinuses.
I change out his pillows daily do to his copious secretions and toss them in the washer w/bleach.
Perhaps in doing so along with my washing hands or wearing gloves and keeping his room wiped down with 10% bleach water has been the key to no infectious disease. Also change his bed pads 1-2 times daily and sheets every other day.
Yes I do ALOT of laundry.
TJ, if we can find anyone growing truffles on their pillow we'll have it MADE!
...looking to increase Christmas sales.
I hate to admit this, but my nutso father still sleeps on the same down pillows he received as wedding presents over FORTY years ago.
I already will NOT go into a hotel room.
I need a giant body condom.
ping to the article
Ha, did anyone notice that COMPUTERS are also identified as being welcoming environs for fungus?!?
That may well explain why there are so many people driven to madness or otherwise sickness on the internet.
WHERE are they IN the computers? Ha...I'm thinking the issue is probably more that fungus is ON computers, due to the welcoming plastics.
In which case, I use 409 on mine. Highly recommend it.
Pepper & spices? Sheesh. I have to replace all those too?
Hint- It ain't money.
TMI ... icky
It's obviously closely related to broccoli. So I'd think a little lemon juice ought to go very well on it, too! :-)
I'm an obsessive hand washer as it is. I really don't need to add to my already existing neuroses.
It sounds like he's in very good hands, OP. God bless you.
But plastic pillow covers are so tacky.
As if this article isn't gross enough, what's really nasty is when people get sick they're coughing and sneezing and then don't change their bedding after getting well. Bedding should be changed once a week no matter what, IMO.
It's a matter of hygiene.
Right? Little Olive oil, seasoned bread crumbs, roasted garlic, three cheese bread, prosciutto, Genoa salami, a good red...Hey, I'm a wop. And Italian men know their way around the kitchen.
No telling whose fungus is in hotel pillows.
Look on the right hand side of that Froogle link... In other words, at the sponsored links... One of the companies (NationalAllergySupply) sells tightly woven cloth pillow "encasings," that'll keep out dust mites. But to filter out one of the main fungal culprits, aspergillus fumigatus, I think you have to get the pore size down to a couple of microns. <*sigh*>
Plastic's tacky but I think I'm going to have to go to it soon, like it or not.
They ain't kilt me yet, no way will I get all worried now!
45 years ago, some of the best sleep sessions I ever had was laying on a pile of half dried shrimp nets, I reckon that those nets were all loaded up with all kinds of germs, but the only things I ever suffered, was the mesh patterns on my ugly face! The damned germs never had a chance!
The cool thing about sleeping on a pile of nets is how easy it is, to figure out, how to scratch the spots that really drive you bonkers!
I am Republican, only because the Republican ideal is aimed at, and dedicated to, the preservation of my "inalienable" rights.
I sure would like to hear your reasons!
If "Republican" no longer equals "FREEDOM", I am damned sure out of here!
Looks like sperm with wigs.
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