Last month, I was diagnosed with "hidden allergies." For those of you who don't know what this is, it basically means I have a hypersensitivity to chemical substances and I didn't even know it. I was clinically diagnosed, which means that my doctor can see I have allergies even if I'm nonreactive to the standard pinprick test for allergens. Because I'm a medical anthropologist and a science nerd, I immediately began asking questions about allergies and talking to people about it. This sparked a serious interest in doing a big, crazy-making project looking at the recent rise in allergies - a project that asks a lot of questions about the science and culture of allergies in America.
Right now, I'm working on a proposal for a nonfiction book on the topic. Although my academic training will heavily influence both the way I research this book and its grounding questions, this book will not, strictly speaking, be an academic one. My goal is to reach a more general audience, since so many of us are allergies sufferers, know someone who is, or have some level of curiosity about allergy-related topics such as the recent "gluten-free" trend.