All About Getting Tested For Cat Allergies

Felines are our friends, but not when they are making us miserable due to allergies. These symptoms can be obvious, but sometimes they are more discreet or are attributed to other causes such as mold or dust. If you are unsure about the effect a fluffy cat can have on you, you should probably undergo allergy testing to see if you are allergic to cats. Knowing if you’re allergic or not can help you guard yourself against the unpleasant effects that come from these pets.

Symptoms

Before you schedule a trip to the doctor’s office, you should understand what symptoms come with cat allergies. There are a number of possible symptoms. Like most allergies, you may have itchy, watery, or swelling eyes. Your nose may drip, you may feel congested, or you may cough or sneeze frequently around cats. Beware of sinus pressure. Watch out for respiratory problems such as difficulty breathing and wheezing. Also be mindful of your skin. You may have redness if a cat has scratched or licked you recently. Some who are highly allergic to felines experience hives and rashes in their upper extremities. Knowing what these symptoms are can put you in the right direction for resolving these issues.

Causes

You might wonder why you have these symptoms due to cats. Dander, or the dead skin cells of an animal, is a common cause. Sometimes symptoms emerge when you come in contact with a cat’s urine or saliva. Dander, saliva, and spit can be carried through a cat’s hair, but keep in mind it’s usually not the hair that is the cause of your immune system overreacting.

Tests

If you have the above-listed symptoms and you’ve been in contact with a cat or a few, call up your doctor’s office and ask for allergy testing. Be prepared for an examination before you do testing. Expect your physician to ask you about symptoms and to look over your eyes, ears, nose, skin, and throat. He’ll inspect you for sinus drainage, inflammation, rashes, and other signs of cat allergies. To be sure that you have cat allergies, you will go through an allergy test.

The most common type of allergy examination is the skin test. This sort of test is designed to see how you’ll react to different stimuli on your skin. The scratch test involves a pricking device against the skin to apply allergen extracts. After 15 minutes, the health care professional will see if the skin appears itchy or irritated. Another skin exam is the intradermal test. This is the same as the scratch test except that the allergen extract is injected into your skin before a reaction is discovered. The last type of skin examination is the patch test. A patch with an allergen extract on it will be applied to your skin. After 48 hours, you’ll be evaluated for a reaction.

Blood tests are often used for allergy testing. This is implemented when a patient may have a skin condition or medication being taken interferes with a regular skin exam. A RAST or an ELISA blood test will be executed. Blood is drawn and examined for antibodies that indicate an allergy. High levels of these antibodies usually indicate a feline allergy.