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Another Person's PoisonA History of Food Allergy$
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Matthew Smith

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231164849

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231164849.001.0001

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Strangest of All Maladies

Strangest of All Maladies

(p.67) Three Strangest of All Maladies
Another Person's Poison

Matthew Smith

Columbia University Press

This chapter describes the excitement and controversy generated by clinical and popular interest in food allergy during the first several decades of the twentieth century. It became apparent that although food allergy was included in the same family of allergic disease as hay fever and pet dander allergy, it did not always follow the same rules as those conditions. Early food allergists had to diagnose, treat, and classify food allergy differently than orthodox allergists who focused on other allergies. They also relied more on the testimony and cooperation of their patients. The two factions that would emerge within allergy—food allergists, who employed a broad definition of food allergy and thought it was widespread, and orthodox allergists, who employed a narrower definition of food allergy and thought it was rare—would contest how to understand, explain, and treat food allergy throughout the twentieth century.

Keywords:   food allergy, allergies, food allergists, orthodox allergists, allergic diseases

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