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Patient Information

Comprehensive Allergy Testing

1) Your illness is one that normally responds to diet and neutralisation therapy, but at this stage I can only guess which substances are involved. They could include foods, dusts, mould spores, pollens, or inhaled chemical pollutants.

2) The unfortunate truth is that no allergy test is entirely reliable, including mine. The best we can get from skin tests and blood tests are clues. There is no test known to man that can reliably tell what is safe for you.

3) I therefore work on the worst-case assumption, which is that you are allergic to or intolerant of all of these things (or soon will be), and that being so I will attempt to desensitise you for everything that you will eat and drink, plus a realistic range of airborne substances.

4) This policy is called "blunderbuss therapy". The disadvantage is that I might be giving you treatment that you don't really need. The advantage is that it misses nothing and cuts out the cumbersome detective work. Most patients get better this way, in the minimum time.

5) The testing that we do is not, therefore, expected to tell us what you are allergic to or not allergic to (although some types of skin reaction give strong clues). My main purpose is simply to work out the best medicine to give you maximum protection. This medicine works a bit like vaccination and is called the specific neutragen. "Specific" means that it is designed personally for you - if other patients use it they will probably get worse, not better.

6) Testing is done by placing a small drop of liquid into the skin, using a tiny syringe and needle. Several drops, each of different strengths, will be placed for each substance tested.

7) We usually use the skin of the upper arms and/or back as these are normally the least painful areas. Ladies should dress in a man's cotton vest, which for this purpose needs to be loose and baggy, not fitted, and worn back-to-front over the bra (you can get changed once you arrive at the clinic). Gentlemen have the option of sitting bare-chested.

8) It makes the job easier for everyone if you bring a companion with you for moral support. Ladies should preferably bring the husband, parent, or a female relative or friend.

9) Although you will be sitting quietly throughout, you may well feel weary and washed-out for the rest of the day, although if you drive here you will normally be able to drive home again.

10) You must not use perfume or fragranced products, or smoke, anywhere in the building.

11) Long loose hair generates static and gets in the way; please tie it back or coil it up under a shower-cap.

12) We will need two sessions for testing, each lasting 3-4 hours. We normally start at 11.00 a.m. (unless we have arranged differently). I need to see you again the following day, for five minutes after the first session and for about an hour after the second (no extra charge).

Your Testing Appointments:

Day 1 ................................................................ plus a few minutes the following day

Day 2 ............................................................... plus about an hour the following day

How much is all this going to cost?

1) The cost of the entire testing package will be ....................... This usually covers 70-90 items including foods, pollens, dusts and pollutants, and your diet will be restricted, for the next few months, to the foods covered by the neutragen only.

2) To this will have to be added the cost of the neutragen itself once it is made, which will probably be in the order of ..............per three-month batch. Your GP is entitled (though not required) to prescribe specific neutragen for you, and if he is willing to do that (about 50% of doctors are) you will merely have to pay the prescription fee.

3) In the course of nearly 40 years of allergy practice I have learned never to take anything for granted in Medicine. The human body is immensely complicated and none of us entirely understands it. It has an apparently infinite capacity for springing surprises. We do sometimes get things wrong, and things sometimes go wrong by themselves. We occasionally need to make mid-course corrections, and occasionally to re-test in order to put right sensitivity changes or mistakes. We may have to spend many more hours with you, though we probably won't. If it does happen, the extra time will need to be paid for, and although it is unlikely, you need to be warned in case.

4) Once you are better you may wish to expand your diet to make it more friendly (although it will already be healthful and nutritious). This may entail further testing which will be charged at the full rate, since there is no medical need for it.

5) Rheumatic-patch treatment currently costs 5 per ampoule (up to 20 ampoules per session) and I will tell you if I think you need that.

6) The nurses who do the testing are part-timers who will have cancelled other work possibilities in order to be here. You will therefore have to pay an advance deposit to cover the amount the nurse will lose if, for any reason, you have to cancel these testing sessions. This will be ..

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