A plump pillow is essential for a good night’s sleep, but it is also a breeding ground for disease, scientists warned today.
A study suggests pillows used at home and in hospitals have been underestimated as carriers of infection such as potentially deadly super bugs.
After only two years, more than a third of the weight of a pillow is comprised of allergens made up from dead skin, bacteria, dead dust mites and their faeces.
Doctors from Barts and the London NHS Trust investigated whether pillows used in hospitals could aid the spread of disease.
The team found 30 different types of infections in a sample of standard £5 pillows taken from wards.
They said that a worrying number showed evidence of wear and tear, allowing mites and bacteria to enter, and as such were potential vehicles for infections such as MRSA and C.difficile.
The findings were presented by Dr Arthur Tucker at the Hospital Acquired Infection Conference in London yesterday.
Although hospital pillows are routinely washed between patients, the study revealed many of them had become damaged.