The innocent decision of a man from the United Kingdom to change his bedding led to a strange, rare condition that made him hold his breath for air, his doctors say. In a new case on Monday, they detail how the man has contracted a rare form of allergy to bird feathers that filled his new duvet and pillows.
According to a study published in BMJ Random Reports, a 43-year-old man suffered months of dizziness, fatigue and shortness of breath when he visited his local doctor in November 2016.
At the beginning of his doctor accepted that there was an infection of the lower respiratory tract, such as bronchitis, and its symptoms improved soon after . But by December they had gotten worse, to the point that he could no longer walk to the next room in his house without holding his breath. His doctor referred him to an emergency room clinic and sought advice from one of the study's authors, Owen Dempsey, a breast physician at the Royal Aberdeen Hospital.
"Their immune system behaves in an exaggerated way – think Donald Trump rather than Barack Obama"
Dempsey talks to the man on the phone, trying to reset himself for any potential cause of his symptoms. And after the man mentioned that he and his wife had recently switched from synthetic linen to feather and feather pillows, Dempsey quickly came up with a preliminary diagnosis, which was later confirmed by laboratory tests: hypersensitivity pneumonia or HP.
Man had a particular form of HP, which tends to strike people who breed or work closely with birds, which earned him the nickname " a lung bird lover. "But in cases where people received HP simply by being exposed to feather bedding, it was instead called a" lung blanket. "
" In some individuals who encounter avian waste protein or feather dust, their immune systems are exaggerated – think Donald Trump, not Barack Obama, "Dempsey told Gizmodo via HP, like Gizmodo very recently explained is a complex and rare condition. It includes different antibodies from those that cause typical food or skin allergy This means that it cannot be detected by a standard allergy test or that people respond immediately when exposed to a trigger. It is also not clear why one develops HP, as many of us can carry these specific antibodies to the trigger, but never get sick.
"Most people, of course, do not get this and depend on how their immune system is primed and is affected by their genetics, "Dempsey said.
As Dempsey was quick to suspect a feather blanket of lungs, however, he told the man to remove the bed from his home from the first time they spoke. And after days he started to improve. Subsequent steroid treatment seems to accelerate its recovery, although Dempsey notes that there is no clear evidence that steroids will help with HP. However, during his weaning after a year, he returned to normal.
"This does not affect me at all and my life is almost as it used to be," the man wrote in perspective of the patient accompanying the case report.
Although there are likely to be more people with feather lungs than documented given how difficult it is to diagnose, this is not something to worry about if you've slept quite under and filled blanket without any problems.
"Hold on to your pen, but if you get symptoms of breasts, e.g. shortness of breath or cough, mention it to your healthcare professional, "Dempsey said. "Most don't think about it."