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Sleeping position and upper airways bacterial flora: relevance to cot death.
  1. S Bell,
  2. B A Crawley,
  3. B A Oppenheim,
  4. D B Drucker,
  5. J A Morris
  1. Department of Microbiology, Withington Hospital, Manchester.


    The hypothesis that the prone sleeping position is associated with accumulation of upper airways secretions and increased bacterial growth was investigated in adults. Ten subjects with upper respiratory tract infection lay prone for one hour and then supine for one hour. Nasal swabs after the prone period yielded higher bacterial counts than swabs obtained after the supine period. This result could be relevant to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), as infants who sleep in the prone position are at increased risk of SIDS and one theory is that death is caused by toxins produced by bacterial overgrowth in the upper respiratory tract following a viral infection.

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