Cat Hair and Dander Allergy IgE Blood Test
The Cat Hair and Dander Allergy Blood Test measures the IgE antibody levels in the blood to detect a cat allergy.
What is the purpose of this test?
Order this Cat Hair and Dander Allergy Blood Test to measure the IgE antibody levels in the blood to detect a cat allergy. About 30% of Americans have allergies to pets (cats or dogs), with a cat allergy being the most common. Cat allergens are easily spread through shedding hair or dander. The cat hair and dander become airborne, and once settled, they are hard to get rid of from soft surfaces, such as:
- Bedsheets, pillows, or linens
- Furniture (couches, chairs, or mattresses)
Recent studies have shown that even 90% of American households without pets tested positive for animal allergens. This test may help individuals determine if they have a cat allergy, so they may work with their healthcare provider to develop a management and treatment plan.
What causes a cat allergy?
Cat allergies are more common than other pet allergies because individuals are not allergic to only cat hair or fur. Instead, many individuals are allergic to the proteins found in cats: saliva, urine, and dander (skin flakes in animal hair or fur). The key allergens that trigger cat allergies include the following proteins:
- Fel d 1
- Fel d 2, Cat serum albumin
- Fel d 4, Cat
When an individual with a cat allergy becomes exposed to these allergens, their immune system recognizes the substances as foreign. As a result, it stimulates the plasma cells to produce specific antibodies that combat the invaders. Suppose the individual is exposed to the cat allergens again through direct skin contact or inhalation. In that case, the immune system "recognizes" the allergen encountered. These antibodies cause a chemical known as histamine to be released, triggering an allergic reaction. The allergic reaction may occur within minutes or a few hours after initial exposure to cat allergens and may vary from mild to severe depending on the individual.
When should I order a Cat Hair and Dander Allergy Blood Test?
Individuals may order a Cat Hair and Dander Allergy Blood Test if they have experienced symptoms related to a cat allergy. Common signs or symptoms of a cat allergy may include the following:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Itching or hives
- Itchy or watery eyes
- Inflammation of the skin where a cat has scratched, bitten, or licked
- Trouble breathing or wheezing
A severe, possibly life-threatening allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis may occur in some cases. An anaphylactic response requires immediate medical attention. Signs or symptoms of anaphylaxis may include:
- Rapid or increased pulse
- Swollen throat or lump, making it difficult to breathe
- Low blood pressure
- Extreme dizziness or loss of consciousness
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