Testing at home for allergies


Jo Tatham, 33, is married with no children. She lives in Fulham, West London, where she owns a hat shop. We asked her to test out a DIY health kit for allergies.

Allergies: The BodyWatch Allergy Test Kit allows you to select three allergy tests from a long list provided, and there is a questionnaire provided to help with the selection. You take a blood sample and send it to BodyWatch for analysis - results take five days.

COST: £30.

Jo's verdict: 'This looked interesting as I know that I'm allergic to various pollens, cats, wheat, nuts and latex, and I was interested in testing for foods. But after filling in the forms, I saw that I had to put a whopping 200 units of blood (as marked on the tube, this was not simply a 'blob') and only just about managed to squeeze it out.

'A most off-putting test - I'd rather go for a hospital investigation. The results came back confirming the above allergens, but nothing new -so this seems to be reliable although I wondered whether anything could have been missed.'

Dr Apple says: 'This is a reliable test, endorsed by the British Allergy Foundation and could be useful if you get unexplained rashes, wheeziness or react badly to food or an insect sting. However, a strongly positive result would mean a follow-up by your doctor who may give you a cool reception if he is sceptical about the role of allergy in explaining vague ill-health.'

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