Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics (AANMA) is concerned about the increasing “do-it-yourself” trend that treats allergy and asthma patients more like piggy banks than people with serious health concerns. A recent story in USA Today about home allergy tests is a case in point. Here’s AANMA’s response:
To the Editor:
The “do-it-yourself” MyAllergyTest featured in Cathy Payne’s “Home Test Kit for Top Ten Allergens, Including Cats” trivialize what is a serious, debilitating and sometimes life-threatening condition.
Allergy testing is not done for curiosity’s sake as quipped by MyAllergyTest ImmuneTech’s CEO Lisa Elkin. If it involves any level of frivolity, save your money. You don’t need it.
MyAllergyTest cannot be compared to a “yes” or “no” home pregnancy or blood-pressure test. Allergy test results have no value without context provided by expert pre- and post-testing assessment by a board-certified allergist.
The problem is, many non-physicians are practicing allergy immunotherapy without training or certification by the American Board of Allergy & Immunology.
For a $20 co-pay, people can get real allergy testing from experts and apply what they learn at home, school, work and play. Those unemployed or without health insurance can least afford to waste money on tests they do not need.
DIY assessment leaves us vulnerable to over/undermedication, suffering and risk. Elkin’s DIY test advises people who are allergic to ragweed not to mow the grass. Try this: Get a qualified diagnosis and a long-term treatment plan from a board-certified allergist and you might be able to run marathons during ragweed season like some of our members.
Allergy testing, diagnosis and management is not for do-it-yourselfers!
President and Founder
Allergy & Asthma Network
Mothers of Asthmatics