Last year, 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 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.

Stay tuned.

If you have allergies and are interested in contributing to the research, please fill out this survey. You can also leave me your email in the comments box in the end if you'd be willing to talk to me in more detail and depth about your allergy experiences.