I’ve been allergic to fleas ever since I was a kitten. Flea bites give me an itchy, red rash.
I talked about why that happens with my friend Bevan Briggs. He’s a nurse practitioner and professor at Washington State University. Nurse practitioners are nurses with advanced training. They diagnose illnesses, order tests and prescribe medicine.
Briggs told me that often rashes happen when the immune system gets turned on. The immune system is the body’s defense system.
“It's the way our body tries to protect us from germs and poisons,” he said. “Rashes happen because your immune system identifies something as foreign—either an infective agent or some kind of toxin.”
Did you know even identical twins have different fingerprints? It can be hard to tell twins apart, but a close look at their fingertips can reveal who’s who. The reason lies partly in their genes, but mostly from the unique way everyone’s skin grows before birth.
That’s what I learned from my friend David M. Conley, a professor at Washington State University’s Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine.
“The reason fingerprints are unique is the same reason individual humans are unique,” Conley said. “Variation is the norm, not the exception.”