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Why you don’t need a meningitis self-test kit

Empty glass next to laptop

We looked at some self-test meningitis kits and found that a simple glass tumbler can be just as effective. Surely it’s better to educate ourselves rather than forking out a tenner for a piece of plastic?

When does a glass tumbler become a medical device?

No, it’s not a joke – it’s us looking at one of the self-test kits on sale (at Boots and Lloyds Pharmacy) to spot meningitis and septicaemia.

It made us ask ‘couldn’t you do the same thing with a glass tumbler from your kitchen cupboard and some freebie information from a good website?’ After all, pressing a glass to a rash to see if it fades under pressure is likely to give you the same effect.

The pros and cons

My mum would say no. She’d probably want to tuck one of these tests in her first aid kit – she likes a gadget, and doesn’t mind paying for it.

But my dad might disagree. He’d say that you don’t need to spend over £10 on something you can easily do yourself, and you’d be bound to lose the kit you’d bought in a medical emergency. He might also argue that a rash is only one sign of septicaemia, which often (but not always) occurs with meningitis, so you’d do better getting clued up on all the symptoms in case you ever need it.

Personally, I’m all for awareness, but not at the expense of people’s bank balances. When we asked a GP to look at the kits he told us, ‘I wouldn’t recommend either,’ which is enough to convince me to keep my cash.

So, where do you stand? Do these meningitis kits prove that high street chemists are cashing-in on our lack of understanding of medical matters – or are they actually quite a sensible addition to the medicine cabinet?

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