Skip main navigation

New offer! Get 30% off one whole year of Unlimited learning. Subscribe for just £249.99 £174.99. New subscribers only. T&Cs apply

Find out more

A king eating strawberries

Watch Andreas J. Bircher explain how Shakespeare’s Richard III might indeed have suffered from an allergy to strawberries.

Many people suffer from allergies. The concept of an allergy, however, was only introduced into medical science at the beginning of the 20th century.

Before that, typical symptoms were explained with many reasons. Rashes and itching skin were even interpreted as the result of poison or witchcraft. Archaic as this may seem, it helps to delve into medical history in order to understand how comprehension evolved. Not only because every understanding bears the mark of its past, but also because the past teaches us humility when we evaluate what we consider our knowledge today. The knowledge concerning allergology, the science of allergies, is expanding. Research widens horizons and changes perspectives. It all starts, however, with a basic understanding of our immune system.

What about you?

In order to get a first impression of you, we would like you to take a short moment and let us know why you are taking this course. Please write your answers in the ‘discussion’ section below. Please remember: you can also ‘like’ and reply to other learner’s comments.

This article is from the free online

Allergies: When the Immune System Backfires

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now