Most of us already know that ticks can spread diseases that can leave you with permanent health issues including life threatening diseases. But did you know that tick bites may also lead to meat allergy? Of course not… this is new information issued by Lyme Disease Org. Dr. Elena Frid a board-certified neurologist and clinical neurophysiologist in New York City.
The recently issued article informs us of the link between meat we suggest and infected ticks. The allergy called “Alpha-Gal” was first researched back in 2002, when numerous patients showed signs of an allergic reaction to the cancer drug CETUXIMAB.
Later, scientists discovered that the same Alpha-Gal sugar that is in the cancer drug is also present in meats. The connection between tick and meat allergy was only made after Thomas Platt-Mills, a scientist of the Univeristy of Virgina, was bitten by a tick and developed this allergy.
Interestingly, the Alpha-Gal sugar is found in meats from cows, pigs and sheep, and the allergy often comes from exposure to the tick, which contains the same sugar in their saliva. It is estimated that there are over 1,500 cases of Alpha-Gal allergy in the U.S. Cases of these meat allergies are more prevalent in areas inhabited by the Lone-Star tick.
The area of concern is, that the allergic reaction is difficult to diagnose. Infected people will likely not exhibit symptoms for two to six hours after ingesting a meal.
Here are the symptoms:
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Swollen tongue
- Hives or rash
- Itchy skin
- Shortness of breath
- Exacerbation of Asthma symptoms
- Anaphylactic reaction with throat closure
A blood or skin test can confirm the allergy. For severe reactions Dr. Frid recommends carrying an Epi-Pen.
“It’s essential to avoid re-exposure to ticks”, says Dr. Frid. Her advise is to use tick and insect repellent not only during the summer months, but whenever you spend time outdoor.
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