Fire Ant Allergy IgE Blood Test
The Fire Ant Allergy IgE Blood Test measures the IgE antibody levels in the blood to detect an allergy to fire ants.
What is the purpose of this test?
Order this Allergy Stinging Insect Profile Blood Test measures the IgE antibody levels in the blood to detect an allergy to several stinging insects. Stinging insect allergies affect about 0.4% – 0.8% of children and 3% of adults in the United States. Approximately 90 – 100 deaths per year result from insect sting anaphylaxis.
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. In addition, they can be difficult to see since fire ants do not clear vegetation from the area around their mounds. As a result, fire ants now infest more than 260 million acres in the southern United States, which has become a significant health hazard and the leading agent of insect stings.
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 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.
What causes an allergic reaction to fire ants?
Once an individual with a fire ant allergy is stung, it triggers a response in their immune system. The immune system views certain substances as harmful and produces IgE antibodies to combat these invaders. Unfortunately, these antibodies cause the chemical histamine to be released, which will cause the symptoms associated with an allergic reaction.
When should I order a Fire Ant Allergy IgE Blood Test?
Individuals may order this Fire Ant Allergy IgE Blood Test if they have experienced symptoms related to a fire ant allergy. Allergy symptoms vary depending on the individual, ranging from mild to severe reactions. Most fire ant allergy symptoms occur within a few minutes to an hour of the individual being stung. An allergic reaction may affect the skin or air pathways. Individuals with fire ant allergies may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Itching or hives
- Difficulty breathing, swallowing, 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 heart rate
- Swollen throat or lump making it difficult to breathe
- Low blood pressure
- Extreme dizziness or loss of consciousness
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