What’s the Scoop on Kids and Dirt? Get Enough to Help, but Not Enough to Hurt, a Doctor Advises

By Cosby Stone

 

Whenever I am asked what I do for a living, the phrase "I'm an allergist" is almost immediately followed by "So, where are all of these allergies coming from?"

Maybe I'll get sick of that question some day, but I haven't yet. As a clinician and researcher on allergies and public health, I first explain that when a society begins to become aware of a disease, the reported prevalence will go up. This is understandable. People who have medically unexplained symptoms wonder "Could I have this allergy that's being talked about?" and try on the diagnosis. Sometimes an allergy really is at the root of their problems, and sometimes it's not.

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Sara WissingerComment