Saturday, February 12, 2011

Allergy Tests

(This is not a photo of me!)

I've had many cats over my lifetime: Nightmare, Smokey, Sugar, Shadow, Suki, Sebastian, Cinnamon, plus a couple whose names I can't remember. About seven or eight years ago, I began to have a reaction to them and so my doctor ordered allergy tests. Little did I know, but I was very allergic to cats, dust, and mildly allergic to mold and dogs.

Now that I have decided to have a cat again, I made an appointment with my allergist to see if I should take allergy shots to build up my immunity to him. Thursday was the day of the testing.

If you have never had allergy tests, it's quite interesting. 40 dots are drawn on your back - 8 columns of 5. On each dot, a needle prick is made with protein from various allergens. Some of these pricks hurt or bite a bit, especially those that are near nerve endings. The first couple of columns are indoor allergens. The next couple are outdoor allergens. I'm not clear on the last column. In just a couple of minutes, a reaction will present itself, if an allergy is detected. After 10 minutes or so, the doctor observes the reactions and tells the nurse to administer a second round of protein to certain spots. For me, spots 3 through 40 needed the second round. This poke is a little deeper, and done with the needle the size the diabetics use.

The first two spots that reacted almost immediately are for dust. The nurse told me the reaction was so strong, the two spots swelled up to become one. After another 15 minutes, the test was completed and the doctor gave me these results (a score of 4 being the highest):

Dust: 4
Blue grass: 3
Timothy grass: 3
Cat: 2

Seven years ago my results were:

Dust: 4
Cat: 4
Dog: 3
Mold: 3

I didn't know the scores could change, but apparently they can.

Based on these new results, I decided not to do the shots but will keep things under control with medication and regular, thorough cleaning of my dust collectors, particularly in my bedroom.


Heidi said...

Are you no longer alergic to dogs?

DD4 said...

Yes, I am no longer allergic to dogs. Isn't that cool?!