Bencard allergy testing kit, England, 1980-1981
Over 20 solutions of some of the most common substances causing allergies are contained in this test kit. The solutions are called allergens. They include hay, dust, grasses, pollen and animal hair. Physicians use the kit to diagnose what a person is allergic to. A small amount is placed onto the skin using a lancet. The skin’s reaction is measured. Allergies are an immune response by the body to a foreign substance. Allergic reactions are not always harmful. They can be simple skin reactions, perhaps causing itching and redness. Others, especially hay fever, cause sneezing. Some people with allergies may have asthma and have difficulty breathing. Around 25% of the UK’s population experience allergies at some point in their lifetime. This figure is increasing. However, scientists are unsure why. This set is made by Bencard. Bencard is a subsidiary of the Beecham pharmaceutical company (now part of GlaxoSmithKline). The set is one of a number of kits available to physicians. However, home testing kits are increasingly popular.
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A state in which the body becomes hypersensitive to specific substances. When these substances come in contact with the body they provoke particular reactions. Common indications of allergy may include sneezing, itching, and skin rashes.
Glossary: allergy testing apparatus