A substantial portion of fall asthma and hay fever may be due to spores of common mushrooms, according to a study described at the recent Montreal meeting of the American Academy of Allergy and Immunology by John Santilli, Jr, MD.
"There is a tremendous increase in hospital emergency room admissions for asthma in the late fall, after ragweed season has ended," explained Santilli. No cause has ever been identified. Following a suggestion by John Salvaggio, MD, director of allergy and immunology in the Department of Medicine at Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, Santilli and co-workers attempted to find out whether spores from fungi of the Basidiomycetes class might be the culprits. These spores are released in the fall.
Not only was widespread sensitivity to mushroom spores identified among fall asthma sufferers but the team found that mushrooms might account for another puzzling phenomenon, "October hay fever."