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.
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