Allergy Sufferers Rejoice!

Sneezing?  Coughing?  Itchy and watery eyes?  Yup, we’re in the middle of a brutal allergy season (one of the worst in recent years), but it turns out all that suffering could actually be good for you.  Sounds impossible, I know, but get this: According to a stack of recent research, allergies may help protect against cancer. 

It has to do with how allergies activate our immune systems.  During an allergy attack, our bodies’ defenses kick into high gear in an effort to drive out whatever is irritating us.  (That’s way we sneeze and cough.)  Researchers think that as we’re ridding ourselves of allergens, we could also be flushing out cancer-causing toxins.  The concept is still fairly new (read: not widely accepted), but here’s a round-up (courtesy of the New York Post) of what some studies have found so far.

~Cornell University: reduced rates of lung, skin, throat and intestinal cancers in allergy sufferers

~Brigham Young University: lower risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and stomach cancer

~Harvard University: “a stong inverse relationship” between brain cancer and asthma, eczema, hay fever or allergy

If this theory proves true, it should be interesting to see how it’ll shape how we treat both allergies and cancer.  I should note, however, that there are a lot of other factors (smoking, obesity) that contribute to cancer risk. 

And if you’re curious about how your city stacks up against others when it comes to whose residents are more allergy prone, check out this Forbes article.

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