Allergic: How Our Immune System Reacts to a Changing World

Allergic: How Our Immune System Reacts to a Changing World
By Theresa MacPhail

It’s likely that you or someone you know has an allergy. I personally suffer from season allergies and eczema, a skin allergy.

We are not alone. In fact, the author of the book was surprised by the number of people who suffer with the malady. “Approximately 40% of the entire human population already has some form of allergic condition.” That’s a lot of people!

But just what is an allergy? One definition: “A damaging immune response by the body to a substance, especially pollen, fur, a particular food, or dust, to which it has become hypersensitive.” A simpler definition: “Allergy occurs when a person reacts to substances in the environment that are harmless to most people. These substances are known as ‘allergens’ and are found in dust mites, pets, pollen, insects, ticks, moulds, foods and some medications.” No matter the definition, having an allergy is no fun.

The author, Theresa MacPhail, has a personal reason for her quest to discover all about allergies: her father died because of an anaphylactic shock to a bee sting. She is also an allergy sufferer herself and that led her to talk to various experts on allergies and the immune system.

This book, Allergic: How Our Immune System Reacts to a Changing World, is not a “living with your allergy” guide. Rather, it focuses on what allergies are, the history of their discovery, and the future of allergy treatments.

As someone who appreciates medical history, I really enjoyed the more historical aspects but also, as I suffer from allergies, I was appreciative of the details she went into as to just what allergies are and the various treatments.

I didn’t find this book a particularly difficult read, but it is a long book because the author makes a point of discussing the subject in great detail.

I’d recommend Allergic: How Our Immune System Reacts to a Changing World to anyone interested in the medical history of allergies or who, like me, has allergies and wants a better understanding of them. I gained a greater appreciation of the subject, even though it personally causes me great discomfort during allergy season.

4/5 stars

[Thank you to NetGalley and the author for the advanced ebook copy in exchange for my honest and objective opinion which I have given here.]

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