TODAY

TODAY   |  March 27, 2013

Keep your family healthy with DIY home medical kits

More and more people are self-diagnosing simple ailments these days instead of enduring long waits in doctor’s offices and troubling with insurance claims. Dr. Keri Peterson, who writes a column for Women’s Health, shows off some simple and effective DIY medical kits.

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>>> this morning on "today's health," do-it-yourself medical kits. more and more people are turning to at-home medical kits to self-diagnose simple ailments. contributor for "women's health" magazine has diy kits that are approved. good to see you.

>> good morning.

>> i was stunned to hear that lab testing, the industry itself, brings in $65 billion. that means either you're paying for that our your insurance company . and it's not always necessary.

>> there is no substitute for medical care . some of the tests we're talking about are options for people who are busy and it's tough to get in to your doctors, or you want to do it in the privacy of your own home. you always should discuss the results with your physician.

>> absolutely. these tests, are they usually accurate if you follow up with your doctor?

>> they're accurate as long as they are fda approved and you read the directions very carefully. user error is what accounts for false results most of the time.

>> all of these are fda approved. let's launch in.

>> okay.

>> the first -- for allergies, timely, obviously.

>> that's right. we are starting spring. if you don't know if you have a cold or allergies, this test is for the ten most common household allergens including duftd and mold. -- dust and mold. it's called my allergy test . it's done with a finger stick with a blood sample . you mail it in and get results e-mailed in a few days.

>> are the tests going doctors?

>> they're going to a laboratory.

>> and the laboratory contacts you and lets you know?

>> in this case with an e-mail.

>> okay. very good. moving on, this is cholesterol?

>> cholesterol. more than 71 million adults in this country have high cholesterol . this is called cardiocheck. and you purchase a device as well as test strips. and it allows you with a blood sample , again, as a finger stick to get your cholesterol results in three to five minutes. pretty instant result. in this particular one, the test for the triglyceridestriglycerides, hdl an d ldl.

>> for the hotel kit, a little over $100. but you get the results quickly.

>> and the three test strips, you can do it more than once.

>> a lot of ladies are familiar with this product.

>> an ovulation test called clearblue. it is very popular, available at drug stores . this is done with a urine dip stick. one in two couples try to conceive at the wrong time of a woman's cycle. there is over 99% accurate in giving you the period of time within two days that the woman after late, so you know you have an optimum time for conception.

>> this is fantastic. fda approved.

>> correct.

>> perfect. then we're moving to another kit here. this looks -- i have to tell you from looking at it, it looks complicated, but it's not?

>> it's not complicated. this is a female version, this is the male version. this is for sexually transmitted diseases which many people do prefer to do in the privacy of their own home. for the woman, this is available at getstdtesting.com. it is fda approved. for females it is done with a swab. for men, done with a urine. you mail it in. and your results are e-mailed in a few days of them receiving the results. there is also a blood sample which can test for hiv and hepatitis. it's not here on this table, but that's available on the web site .

>> and the ski to follow instructions because -- key is is to follow instructions because of human error --

>> exactly. follow up with your physician.

>> urinary tract infections.

>> one this three women have a uti by age 24. this is similar to what i use in my office, a dip stick that test for white blood cells and nitrates. if it's positive, call your doctor. you need antibiotics. very important. and this is for blood alcohol level . it's a scan that uses a breath test . you blow into the device. ace d -- it's disposable.

>> thank you very much. dr. carrie peterson.