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Is there funding on nhs for allergy testing? Am very annoyed.

(16 Posts)
jellyjelly Wed 26-Aug-09 14:59:33

I keep going into anaphylaxis and have been given an epipen and told to eat bland food till i get seen by a consultant allergist.

They called today and said its a private clinic and that i have to pay.

I asked how much and was told about £350 minimum.

I am shocked and thought that there was funding on the nhs for allergies.

Does anyone know about this and can help me out? I am so very upset at the moment

Lozza70 Wed 26-Aug-09 15:09:03

I have had anaphylactic reactions for the first time this year and had the same advice/initial treatment (epipen) but I did get my allergy clinic appointments on the NHS. All the allergy tests I have had however have been blood tests as it has been discovered I am not allergic to the standard food allergens. Good luck with getting a solution.

jellyjelly Wed 26-Aug-09 15:15:24

do you know what you are allergic too, what is happening next to you if you dont mind me asking.

How long did it take you to get your appointment?

tatt Wed 26-Aug-09 15:44:41

There are NHS clinics for allergy testing and you should not have to pay unless you don't wish to wait. However there are very few allergy consultants and so you will probably have to be seen by someone who is trained in a different branch of medicine but claims to have "an interest in" allergy. For children they are often paediatricians, for adults can be anything. There is a list of the main clinics here

An appointment can take anything from 3 months upwards, depends a lot where in the country you are. It is always worth phoning the consultants secretary after a couple of weeks to check the referral letter has actually got there. When it hasn't you can chase your gp to send it!

Have you been advised to keep a detailed food diary, including any ingredients for convenience food?

jellyjelly Wed 26-Aug-09 17:01:09

Thankyou for the response. I have been waiting 3 weeks but I certainly didnt expect a private response. I can not afford on e at all.

Have been told not to eat spicy food until the clinic and a food diary would be a good idea.

Is there anything else that I should be doing?

I am glad to hear that there are appointments on the nhs.

MummyDragon Wed 26-Aug-09 19:29:51

Hi jellyjelly,

Sorry this is happening to you. To reiterate the other responses - yes, you certainly can get allergy testing (blood tests, which are the only true reliable form of allergy testing) on the NHS.

Are you taking any medicines to which you might be allergic? For example, penicillin? And if you are allergic to this, you could also be allergic to mould spores ... there are some very odd links between certain allergens. Also, could you be allergic to something in the environment (e.g. latex) rather than to something that you are ingesting?

Would taking Piriton as a pre-emptive measure make you feel any more relaxed until you have had the allergy tests done? Might be worth asking your GP.

The other thing you could do is ask the private allergy consultant if he/she works on the NHS and, if so, where and when. The private secretary will probably be able to give you the NHS secretary's number to book an appointment directly. Or ask your GP to find out for you - there must be an allergy clinic at your local hospital or, if not, ask if you can speak to the local dermatologist as their work often overlaps with allergies (I speak from experience) and they might know a colleague who could help you.

Good luck with this - I know how scary anaphylaxis can be. Definitely badger your GP about this. They should be able to find out exactly who can help you.

jellyjelly Wed 26-Aug-09 20:05:59

I know that it is something that I am eating. It started when i ordered a curry from my local place. I had not had the dish before but had tried the majority of the others.

The second time it happened was from again my local chinese and it was on the second eating of one dish. Ie I had it two nights running. First time no prob but second time it was full one.

Third time was at my girlfriends house when her housemate cooked a chili con carne. I have had all of this food before.

Fourth time was eating a maryland cookie.

The nurse thought it could be nuts but I had eaten nuts a few days before and not had any reaction.

I am allergic to pizza and I am violently ill when I eat it but can eat all the ingrediants separetly.

jellyjelly Wed 26-Aug-09 20:07:44

I am also on anti histamines everyday to be taken before meal, well evening meal.

YM attacks mainly happen at night just after eatiing or at 2am.

Smithagain Wed 26-Aug-09 20:10:54

Sounds weird. Cashew nuts cross my mind - in lots of Indian/Chinese food and also in Pesto, which could be in the pizza, but not obviously so?

And yes, my daughter has had allergy tests on the NHS, despite having much less conclusive grounds for them than you do. So I hope you get something sorted soon.

jellyjelly Wed 26-Aug-09 20:37:22

With the pizza i think there must be something in the chicken or a spice or something secret in it that catches me out as I react the every pizza that I have had over years and years each and every time.

Cashews I have had the few days before a reaction.

It happens normally immediately when I have eaten it.

Its bizaar.

MummyDragon Wed 26-Aug-09 20:46:12

Chilli peppers / chilli powder?

jellyjelly Wed 26-Aug-09 20:47:28

I did think that. Am worried about that now as I love eating chilis and spicy stuff.

tatt Thu 27-Aug-09 07:37:12

Sounds like it is one particular brand of pizza then, that has chicken and spices?

An NHS allergy clinic will probably want to do skin prick tests first and then blood tests to confirm the skin prick results. They need some idea what to test for, although they can do a general nut screen. therefore you need to be as specific as possible (full ingredient list for the pizza, down to the additives and E numbers)about what you have eaten safely and what causes problems. For restaurant food that is obviously more difficult, especially as the problem may not be any of the ingredients but contamination from other food cooked in the restaurant.

Allergy clinics do not normally recommend antihistamine on a regular basis for food allergy. It masks symptoms and is of little use in an anaphylactic reaction (better than nothing though).

It ould be nuts - Maryland cookies have a "may contain" warning on the pack and they could have contaminated the restaurant food -nut allergic people know that curries and chinese are high risk and if they enjoy that sort of food tend to cook it themselves at home.

I would check with your gp that you have been referred to an NHS clinic - and tell them where to refer you if they haven't. You can't self-refer in Britain for an NHS appointment.

If you do eat anything dodgy then you need someone with you for at least 4 hours as it is possible to have a secondary reaction when the allergen is being digested. That could be why you have problems at 2a.m. Secondary reactions are usually less severe but it's not something to rely on! If you have an anaphylactic reaction someone needs to call an ambulance.

jellyjelly Thu 27-Aug-09 11:06:14

The last couple of times i have not needed an ambulance but i am dreading the day when i do.

Do i still go even if i can breathe? Sometimes I get the reaction straight away but other times its 2am. It always feels the same but sometimes I have managed to puke other times not be able to.

tatt Fri 28-Aug-09 08:32:48

If you are having a potentially anaphylactic reaction a consultant's advice would be either to call an ambulance or get someone to drive you to hospital. I admit we do not always bother since we got epipens, although we have set off for the hospital a few times. The only time we actually went all the way they were useless when we got there because by then symptoms were subsiding. If you are asthmatic you should definitely go to hospital.

Epipens do not always reverse a reaction, especially if they are not used quickly enough. In an anaphylactic reaction where no epipen is used the average time to death is about half an hour. Sometimes after using an epipen the person seems to recover but symptoms reappear when the adrenaline wears off - and that is just minutes. You have to take anaphylaxis very seriously and make sure you are getting proper tests and advice.

lou031205 Fri 28-Aug-09 09:11:33

Paprika springs to mind?

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