Imagine you have just had a great steak dinner at a fancy restaurant and after you went home had a good night sleep. The next morning you got up and started to fry some bacon. Suddenly you became very sick, your throat started to close up and your blood pressure began to drop. In a panic you hurried to the emergency room and after a quick check up the doctor left and came back in with a sad look on his face. The news he had sent cold chills up and down your body. With a look of pity on his face he told you, “I’m afraid you are allergic to meat and all animal products.”
I know you would be shocked and asked how this could be. I’ve eaten meat all my life and never had this happen before. His reply was, have you recently been bitten by a tick? You respond, well I was out in the woods a few days ago and when I got home I did find a couple of ticks on me. With a look of concern on his face he stated, I’m afraid you now have what it known as alpha-gal allergy. You start to tear up and sob out, what in this world is that? I’ve never even heard that name before. With another look of pity on his face he tells you it is something you got from a tick bite and are no longer able to eat meat or even wear something made from an animal. Not only that you won’t be able to eat beef or pork, you can’t drink milk or eat cheese or even smell meat being cooked.
This may sound like a wild tale but this is what is now happening to many people who have contracted Alpha-Gal allergy from a tick bite. This is apparently something new and there is much to learn about it, but there are now thousands who have been diagnosed with this form of allergy. For some strange reason the Lone Star tick, the one with a white spot on its back, as well as six other species of ticks have some substance in their body that causes some people to get this alpha-gal allergy.
Apparently only some people are susceptible to this form of tick bite and won’t come down with alpha-gal. For those that do, it can change their entire life. Not only can’t you eat meat, cheese, or drink milk, you also will not be able to eat desserts that contain gelatin. A wool sweater will also make you break out in hives. Also even the smell of meat being cooked can cause your throat to begin to swell shut and your blood pressure to start to drop. One may even have to carry an auto injecting EpiPen with them to keep from going into anaphylactic shock. There is still much to learn about this new danger tone’s health and most people may have nothing to worry about. One thing we do know, a tick bite can cause a lot of other health problems.
There are at least a dozen other forms of disease that you can get from ticks. All are bad. When you do go out in nature, even in your own yard, be on the safe side and put on a good tick repellent. Read the label to see if it states it will repel ticks. Not all repellents will keep them off. When you come back in take a quick check or have someone to look you over to see if you have any on you or your clothes. It seems white is good to wear outside as a tick will stand out if you are wearing a light-colored garment.
Also it is best to tuck your leg covering into your shoes and don’t forget to check your hair and back of your neck. I don’t want to scare you and keep you out of the great outdoors, but I think we all know ticks are a problem and they seem to be increasing in numbers each year and some new disease also seems to appear from out of nowhere. I will keep you informed if I learn more about alpha-gal allergy.