Fire Ant Allergy IgE Blood Test
The fire ant allergy test measures the amount of allergen-specific IgE antibodies in the blood in order to detect an allergy to fire ants.
In the ground, fire ants build dirt nests, sometimes on the edges of sidewalks or roads. The mounds found in damp clay-like soil can be very tall, and in dry sandy soil, they can be flat. They can be difficult to see since fire ants do not clear vegetation from the area around their mounds.
Fire ants only bite to get a grip and then sting. This process helps them to remove the stinger, rotate, and sting again. In a matter of moments, a single ant can inflict multiple stings. When fire ants sting, they insert toxic venom called solenopsin. The venom injected by the fire ant can destroy bacteria and some skin cells. Usually, within 24 hours, this leads to a blister's formation that fills with a cloudy white substance. Although this looks like a pus-filled lesion that should be drained, it is sterile and will heal faster if left alone.
Like every allergy, a fire ant allergy causes a reaction in the immune system. When contact is made with the allergen, the body views it as toxic and becomes sensitized, producing IgE antibodies against these contaminants. These antibodies trigger the release of histamines, which will cause the symptoms of an allergic reaction.
Allergy symptoms vary from one individual to the next ranging from mild to severe reactions. Some commons signs of an allergic reaction to fire ants can include:
- Abdominal cramping
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Intense nausea
- Itching and swelling in areas other than the sting site
- Hoarse voice
- Swelling of the tongue or throat
- Difficulty swallowing
- Tightness in the chest and difficulty in breathing
- Anaphylaxis, which can include dizziness, a sharp drop in blood pressure, or cardiac arrest, in extreme cases
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