Breathing Space

Breathing Space

How Allergies Shape Our Lives and Landscapes

Book - 2007
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Allergy is the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the United States. More than fifty million Americans suffer from allergies, and they spend an estimated $18 billion coping with them. Yet despite advances in biomedicine and enormous investment in research over the past fifty years, the burden of allergic disease continues to grow. Why have we failed to reverse this trend?
Breathing Space offers an intimate portrait of how allergic disease has shaped American culture, landscape, and life. Drawing on environmental, medical, and cultural history and the life stories of people, plants, and insects, Mitman traces how America's changing environment from the late 1800s to the present day has led to the epidemic growth of allergic disease. We have seen a never-ending stream of solutions to combat allergies, from hay fever resorts, herbicides, and air-conditioned homes to numerous potions and pills. But, as Mitman shows, despite the quest for a magic bullet, none of the attempted solutions has succeeded. Until we address how our changing environment--physical, biological, social, and economic--has helped to create America's allergic landscape, that hoped-for success will continue to elude us.
Publisher: New Haven : Yale University Press, c2007.
ISBN: 9780300110357
0300110359
9780300143157
Branch Call Number: 616.202
Characteristics: xv, 312 p. : ill., maps ; 25 cm.

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221b_GreenPanda
Jul 17, 2014

A unique look into the role that allergies play in the American life. The major downside for me is the patchy (and often frustrating) manner in which the author presents his various facts and stories. You will have to wait until the last few chapters to be given an explanation for the body's immunological response to allergens, while the first chapter deals entirely on the method of treatment for hay fever sufferers during the late 19th/ early 20th centuries. Therefore you are given the treatment of the ailment before you are even made fully aware of how the various allergens interact within the body.

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