Why Do Geeky People Often Suffer From Allergies?

Why is it that allergies seem to be so common among ‘geeky’ people? Does being born with allergies make you stay indoors all the time, turning you into a geek??

Or is it possible that non-geeks also have high rates of allergies, but they don’t spend as much time worrying and complaining about them?


Most likely, people with allergies tend to stay inside.

Woo-hoo! I know this one!

Skin tissue and nerve tissue are the same type of cells. That means that smart folks (more-sensitive brains) have allergies (more-sensitive skin). And smart=geek, right? :slight_smile:

Being a smart and allergic sort myself…:slight_smile:

Two reasons come to mind:

  1. What ultrafilter said (you have cause and effect reversed in this case).

  2. There is no statistical difference in the number of geeky people with allergies and the number of non-geeks who also have alergies. You just notice the geeky ones more. I’m actually always amazed at how many elite athletes have allergies or asthma or whatnot.

How so, if they “stay inside”?

But yes, if there is any truth in the OP’s assertion (Surreal, care to provide a cite), one possible cause is that those who suffer from allergies maybe socially excluded and or ostracised.

I’ll look for more cites, but I did find this-


Allergies and other immune system disorders are much more common in people with unusual intellectual ability. A survey at a meeting of Mensa, the international society for people with very high IQs, showed that 31 percent of those present reported “severe or multiple allergies.” A Johns Hopkins University study of intellectually precocious youngsters showed that four-fifths of them were either allergic, myopic, or left-handed-- or some combination.

Wow! No wonder I feel so bad.

Well, I have allergies and I’m pretty geeky. I agree with the “we stay indoors” theory. I really don’t like being outside during the summer months; ergo, I opt to stay indoors often engaged in hobbies/reading/computering.

No cite on this, but i remember hearing Seb Coe saying, after retiring from athletics, that although he wasn’t as fit he felt far more healthy.
IANA Dr., but it seems that the nearer you push your body to it’s physical limit the more vulnerable you are to viruses etc.

I know…
I’m off topic again…

I’m not sure how useful that is, Surreal. What are the corresponding rates for the general population? It seems to me that 30% with allergies is pretty low.

For that matter, those Mensa results are self-reported. Is the typical Mensa member’s idea of “serious allergy” the same as for everyone else?

I’d say at least fifty percent of the people who come in my emeergency department report an allergy to something. I would suspect that geeky people have rates of allergies similar to the general population. I have no doubt intellectuals are more likely to be myopic, though.

But I guess it’s all in the definition…


I’ve been geeky for a while, but only recently (past 3-4 years) developed allergies. On the other hand, allergies and sinus trouble run in my family.

No you don’t.


Hey, that’s what my allergist, also an MD, told me. If he’s wrong, I want my money back. Bummer.

Your allergist must have been a geek. I, on the other hand, was (am?) a nerd.

Funny, Qagdop, I was always thought you were a Mercotan…

Last I heard, allergies were running about 20% in the population as a whole, of varying severity.

A LOT of people have an allergy but don’t whine, complain, or moan about it.

I think there’s a significant number of people who DON’T have an allergy but claim to for various reasons - vegetarians claiming to be “allergic” to meat, people claiming to be “allergic” to alcohol, other folks claiming allergies to food they just don’t like to eat… These folks do tend to be loud and geeky.

And severe allergies can result in some social isolation. My food allergies, for instance, do pose problems with social forms of eating and make people avoid having me over for dinner at their homes. Severe hayfever may make a person want to spend a lot of time indoors in a controlled climate.

As a result, the people with loud hypochondria or genuine severe and limiting allergies are the ones you notice. Both types tend to have geeky characteristics. The large number of quiet, non-geeky but allergic people don’t show up on your radar screen.

I’m geeky, and I don’t have allergies.

My allergies didn’t start until college, so I guess I eventually learned enough to be considered a geek, and the allergies weren’t afraid to be seen with me.

As a vegetarian of 20-odd years, I would say I tend to notice the vegetarians around me, and I’ve never heard any of the many vegetarians I’ve met say this. YM(O)V.