The mere thought of laying your head on a pillow filled with dead skin, bugs, mites and their faeces could be enough to prompt you to throw the pillow into your bin. A recent study done on hundreds of pillows from hospitals run by Barts and the London NHS Trust has found that these contaminants are indeed present in the pillows.
Hospitals are required to disinfect mattresses as well as bed frames, however, the risk of infection from pillows tends to be overlooked. Patients are being exposed to a range of diseases such as hepatitis, flu, chickenpox and even leprosy. This is due to contaminated body fluids, dandruff and dead skin that can be found on and inside pillows.
The study found 30 different types of infection in the sample of pillows that was taken from the hospital wards. This poses a severe threat to people with weakened immune systems.
According to the study results, bedding and linen was routinely changed and laundered between patients. However, an extremely high and totally unacceptable percentage of damaged pillows were found on three of the test wards. The tears to the stitching of the pillows indicated that they could not have been effectively cleaned. This exposes patients to infection through the eyes, ears, nose and mouth.
This particular study was sponsored by SleepAngel. The corporation has developed a hermetically sealed pillow. This method of sealing minimises the risk of spreading infection through inadequate stitching. Tests that were undertaken revealed that after three months of usage in hospitals, none of these specially sealed pillows were contaminated on its outer surface.
Researchers state that the problem of bacteria and bugs in pillows is not confined only to hospitals. Your pillows at home could be contaminated too. Many people do not ever wash their pillows and it is recommended that you do so at least once every three months in order to eliminate possible spread of disease.