The layer of fine feather in birds that is found underneath tough outer layer of feather is called down. After hatching the young birds are usually covered with a downy coat of feathers. For centuries humans have used down feathers across the globe for many purposes, especially as an insulation. As time passed by, people started using down feathers in many ways.
Down is now used in pillows. In fact it is popular feather pillow used by many people while sleeping. Down feather pillow provides more comfort and it is more supportive to head and neck while sleeping. Unfortunately, there are some people who are allergic to down. They thus are unable to use down pillow.
Knowing the allergic symptoms of down pillow and finding an alternative will help the allergy sufferers use something similar as down pillow.
Signs And Symptoms Of Down Pillow Allergy
Down pillow are made up of soft feathers from the back, chest and wing of birds. The feathers of geese and ducks are usually used in down pillows. One of the main benefits of down pillow is that it molds easily and provides comfort to head and neck. It also allows good airflow around the head and neck. But some people are allergic to down pillow because of the allergens in bird feathers.
When the delicate feathers breakdown its particle become airborne. In some people it can produce allergic reaction. The symptoms are due to allergenic protein in the bird. The allergic symptoms are mostly similar to that of hay fever.
Following are the symptoms of down pillow allergy:
- Respiratory tract symptoms: Person having allergy to bird products may also have allergy to down pillow. The allergic reaction occurs when histamine starts to increase in the blood to neutralize the allergen. Histamine causes inflammatory response that lead to symptoms of allergy such as itching in nose, running nose, sneezing, congestion in nasal sinus, cough, sore throat etc. Some patients may also get post nasal drip which causes irritation in the throat. The mouth and throat feel itchy.
- Eye symptoms: Patient complains of itching in the eye. There is excessive watering from the eyes due to down pillow allergy. The eyes become congested and red.
- Skin allergy: People having allergy to bird products including down may have symptoms such as itching over skin area. Close contact with the feathers that may come out from the pillow if they are torn from one end can cause allergic symptoms in people who are allergic to bird feathers. Itching, swelling, redness, burning sensation, appearance of wheals are some of the skin manifestation of down pillow allergy.
Treatment For Down Pillow Allergy Symptoms
If the person has down pillow allergy the best way to avoid recurrence of symptoms is to use alternative pillow. He must use pillows that contain non allergenic material. Cotton pillow is one of the best alternatives for people suffering from down pillow allergy. Cotton pillow are soft and provide similar comfort to head and neck as down pillow. Some people also use pillow filled with synthetic material such as polyester and foam.
To alleviate allergy symptoms anti histamine medications are often used by physicians. Local application of aloe vera gel for skin allergy provides soothing effect if itching and burning is intense.