Health. A world of allergies

Health. A world of allergies
Health. A world of allergies

Peanuts, pollen, dust mites, cat hair, etc.: these substances trigger potentially serious reactions in a growing number of people. Rare at the beginning of the 20th century, allergic rhinitis today affects 20 to 30% of the French population. Why do our immune systems go into overdrive when faced with normally harmless elements? The 1960s marked the beginning of a significant increase in allergies worldwide. The advent of the consumer society, the appearance of industrial food, the marketing of chemical detergents: this new way of life disrupts our immune system, inherited largely from the interbreeding between Homo sapiens and Neanderthals. In the laboratory, an experiment shows the disastrous consequences that tiny traces of cleaner left on dishes after washing in the machine can have on lung cells. Because, exposed to the product, the cellular barriers collapse, leaving the door open to unwanted guests (allergens, toxins, viruses, etc.).

When overexposed to irritating substances, the immune system can overreact, causing sneezing, rashes or, worse, fatal anaphylactic shock.

Tsunami

By 2050, four billion Earthlings will suffer from some form of allergic disease. From Australia to Germany via the United States, France, Spain and even the Swiss Alps, Cosima Dannoritzer (Ready to Throw) deciphers the causes of this tidal wave. Between laboratory immersions, interviews with specialists (allergists, professors in human genomics, botany, etc.) and educational activities, his investigation clearly explains the internal mechanisms of the human body, takes stock of current research, particularly innovative treatments, and dispels some myths in the process – avoiding certain allergens does not protect our immune system. Historical, scientific, medical and environmental at the same time, a fascinating insight into a contemporary illness taking on epidemic proportions.

Photo credit: DR

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