Perhaps you have had cause to be in a medical provider’s office recently. (If so, I hope your reasons for being there were benign or relatively minor.) If you have been in a medical office anytime in the past several years (at least), perhaps you’ve noticed a strange collection of medically-themed publications of varying ages and signs of wear. I have no idea where these publications come from, but my office has several copies of a few vaguely medical magazines displayed in various locations. I’m guessing we get them free?
Anyhow, I don’t ever look at them, other than the occasional glance in passing. I think WebMD has a magazine that we keep lying around, and maybe there are one or two more. But a couple of days ago, a copy of this publication caught my eye — Allergic Living. It is, apparently, “the magazine for those living with food allergies, celiac disease, asthma and pollen allergies.” I had no idea that such a thing existed.
Now, I can understand the existence of a lifestyle magazine in which subscribers have only a halfhearted interest. As I know I’ve mentioned before, I like to run. A while ago I decided to subscribe to Runner’s World. I was new to running when I first subscribed, and I thought it might provide Valuable Tips. And perhaps it does provide valuable tips to runners who are more organized or disciplined than me. But I don’t do any of the fancy or complicated work-outs they recommend. I have a pair of shoes I like and when they wear out I go and buy another pair of the same type, so their seemingly endless “buyer’s guides” offer little useful information. If I have any questions about anything, I ask the nice people at the running store. I’ve never heard of any of the people they profile, nor do I find much of the content all that interesting. (Sorry, Peter Sagal! I love you on “Wait, Wait…”!) And yet I still subscribe, because every so often I get some little nugget of interest, and I’m the kind of neurotic dope who’s certain that if he stops subscribing then he’ll miss that Truly Valuable Tip that was coming in the next issue.
If they can squeeze out a monthly issue’s worth of content about something about which there really isn’t all that much to say like running, sufficient to keep Runner’s World (and several similar publications) afloat, then I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that Allergic Living is out there, too. I guess it never occurred to me that people with seasonal allergies or gluten intolerance would think “I’m interested in a magazine devoted to afflictions like mine!” (I don’t say that to mock. I’m just genuinely surprised.) Do people so identify with their allergic status as to want a lifestyle magazine devoted to it? Is there sufficient fellow-feeling between someone with a tree nut allergy and someone with seasonal rhinitis that they’d read articles about each other? Since having to avoid gluten and dealing with nasal congestion are such different things, I guess it seems odd to clump them all together.
So my question this week is semi-serious — do you have allergies or food intolerance, and if so would you really be interested in a magazine that delivered monthly insights into lives like yours? Are there other publications for other illnesses or conditions? Do people enjoy them? Should I recommend them to patients? I’m genuinely curious.