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In ecology, tolerance of parasites refers to host mitigation of the fitness costs of an infection. This concept of parasite tolerance contrasts with resistance, whereby hosts reduce the intensity of an infection. Anti-inflammatory cells and molecules have been implicated as mechanisms of parasite tolerance, suggesting that a major role of tolerance is in minimizing collateral damage associated with inflammation. A framework is proposed here in which the cost-benefit outcome of an inflammatory host-response is hypothesized to be dependent on host life-history, parasite virulence, and the efficacy of a current inflammatory or anti-inflammatory response. Testable predictions, both within and among host species, are presented for this hypothesis.