When Germs Make You Healthy

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Despite huge leaps in modern medicine throughout the 20th century, certain ailments have only gotten more common-- ­­ About one in five Americans now has some kind of allergy, ranging from seasonal hay fever to life­-threatening food sensitivities.

Roughly one in 13 has an autoimmune disease-- a disorder in which the immune system tasked with our protection instead attacks our own body --­­ such as Crohn’s, lupus, and ulcerative colitis.

These diseases are twice--­­possibly three times-- ­­ more common in recent decades. Why-- ­­ and what’s to be done?