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Carpet Monsters and Killer SporesA Natural History of Toxic Mold$
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Nicholas P. Money

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780195172270

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195172270.001.0001

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Carpet Monsters

Carpet Monsters

(p.41) 3 Carpet Monsters
Carpet Monsters and Killer Spores

Nicholas P. Money

Oxford University Press

This chapter explains how mold spores can cause allergies. Spores carry proteins on their surface, and those that act as antigens can cause a cascade of immune responses resulting in the miseries of allergic rhinitis or hay fever, allergic conjunctivitis, skin allergies, asthma, eczema or atopic dermatitis, and hypersensitivity pneumonitis. This chapter describes interactions between immune cells in allergies mediated by IgE and IgG, providing a primer on this complex field of medicine. The idea that allergy is a perversion of a response that evolved to combat parasitic infestations is discussed, along with the hygiene hypothesis that has been advanced as an explanation for the increasing prevalence of asthma.

Keywords:   allergies, antigens, immune, allergic rhinitis, hay fever, allergic conjunctivitis, skin allergies, asthma, eczema, atopic dermatitis

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