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Further to my article, ‘Allergic reaction: swollen lips’  (https://chrispearce52.wordpress.com/2015/07/18/allergic-reaction-swollen-lips/), I went to a pathology clinic and got a skin prick test done. My forearms were cleaned with alcohol before they were marked with rows of dots using a special dye, so the spot where each allergen was to be applied wasn’t lost. Each allergen was applied with a new lancet next to a dot. The instrument hardly broke the skin’s surface.

Using a single needle, I was tested for 89 substances, which meant 89 needle pricks in close succession, probably quicker than one per second. Each allergen was then applied to the surface of the skin at the point of each skin prick. On a scale of 0-5, with 0 being a negative reaction and 5 being a severe positive reaction, I rated 0 for about 75 substances and 1 for the rest, with a 1 usually indicating an inconclusive result or no allergy. My allergies continued, so for me, the skin test wasn’t accurate. The accuracy of skin tests varies from person to person.

Another way to test for allergies is hair sample analysis, although it is not generally supported by the medical fraternity as an accurate way to find food and other allergies. However, I decided to try it as, for me, the skin prick test hadn’t worked.

I sent a sample of hair in a plastic bag in the mail to a naturopath who offered this service and who lived about 60 miles to the north. The results came back a week later. He had tested for over 250 food and other items and found that I was allergic to the following:

– soy sauce

– Gravox

– Vegemite (a food paste made from yeast extract)

– Promite (a vegetable and yeast extract)

– cabbage

– peas

– hazel nuts

– oat bran

– So-Good (a soy milk product)

– Diet Coke

– green tea

– baby shampoo

– kerosene

– gold.

I found the results to be reasonably accurate. By the time I did the hair test, my allergies had improved considerably but I was still getting a bit of discomfort like a kind of heartburn from time to time. I eliminated the foods I had been eating that came up positive in the test and the discomfort disappeared.

This was about 15 years ago and I have had no real problems since. More recently, I have tried Vegemite occasionally and also peas and have had no reactions. Interestingly, I have gold caps on several back teeth and these seem fine. Also, I have worn a gold wedding ring for over 30 years and have never had any problems, so perhaps the gold finding (for me) wasn’t accurate.