Understanding Allergy: The science made simple

By June 8, 2022Books, Public

Allergy is one of the hardy perennials of health journalism, and as the number of people affected continues to rise it will continue to be a hot topic for audiences and commissioning editors.

As we all know too well, the internet is awash with questionable ‘experts’, advice and tests which are big on claims but often lacking in evidence.

Dr Sophie Farooque cuts through the quackery with Understanding Allergy, a brilliant distillation of the latest science and evidence-based advice which has just been published in the Penguin Life Experts series.


Sophie is an allergy consultant and clinical lead at St Mary’s Hospital in London and also a council member of the British Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology — so it’s not surprising that she knows her stuff. But her clinical and research expertise is combined with an ability to explain the science in a clear, simple and supremely reader-friendly language.

Her guide starts with an overview of allergies and what causes them, exploring the different factors that are driving the increase in these disordered immune system reactions and what can be done to reduce the risk if there is a history of allergies in the family. Sophie deftly unpicks the myths and misinformation which surround allergies and food intolerances, and provides a wealth of practical advice for parents and allergy sufferers, and plenty of quotable quotes for journalists covering the subject.


The chapter layout means the book works as both a cover-to-cover read, or as a ready source of information on a specific question. The appendices provide additional information around specific allergens and there are comprehensive references listed for each chapter — which is useful for working journalists and healthcare providers alike.

Understanding Allergy, Penguin, £9.99 — click here to buy it on Hive.

Jane Symons


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