Immune systems gone wild! You might say so! There's a growing sensitivity to meat, Red meats in particular. Hypersensitivity to Alpha-Gal or otherwise put; [galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose], but that's more than a mouthful! LOL Alpha-Gal allergies are tricky for doctors and allergists to diagnose.
Alpha-Gal is contracted through the bite of a Lone Star Tick. [ this is what separates this allergy from traditional food allergies] The saliva from this offending insect preps the immune system for adverse reactions to red meat, including venison, lamb, and pork, as well as gelatin [comes from beef & pork, milk for some and most cheese]. Another difference this allergy has is that reactions from eating the offending food occur hours afterwards, and this makes it more difficult to connect the dots as to what's happening in the body for both patient and doctor.
An allergy to red meat can mean difficult [but so doable] adjustments need to be made. Life without steak, burgers, and the lot can cause one to feel there's no other choices, especially if they've never lived with any kind of food allergy. However, in the times we live in, fortunately; there are plenty of safe and tasty choices to replace those meats with! It will take some trial and error [and learning] on the part of the patient to navigate food choices, learning to read labels, carrying medications and speaking up to restaurant staff about the importance of your food choices.
What are the symptoms of an Alpha-Gal Allergy? It varies from individual to individual; some people report hives, and abdominal distress, [ which range from mild to severe and include cramps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea ], two of the most common symptoms. However, some people experience an anaphylactic reaction which can include a loss of consciousness. One other telltale sign of this allergy is the reaction occurring in a three to six hour window after eating the meat or other animal products.
The alpha-gal allergy is more common in the eastern and southeastern parts of the United States. To confirm you have this allergy see your medical care provider; particularly an allergist. Allergists will perform a blood test which looks for the IgE antibodies to the alpha-gal [carbohydrate] which detects the allergy.
[ Clawdie is always prepared with her Epi-Pens and meds for her food allergy management! ]
Is there a cure for this? No, like other food allergies, the only way to avoid becoming ill from the allergens are to avoid those foods. Careful management through getting educated on your food allergy [ understanding exactly what foods you should be avoiding ] and always carrying the proper medications needed, [for example, your doc may prescribe an Epi- Pen depending on your symptoms], are what is required.
[ Pippy might be over her Alpha-Gal allergy, but she may be celebrating too soon, she'll need to keep in close contact with her doctor! ]
There could be good news, maybe... the alpha-gal allergy can for many [but not all] people over time could go away, if there isn't another tic bite. If there's consistency in avoiding red meat and the other food allergens (gelatin...). Working with your health care provider closely will lead you with confidence to a solution of safe and healthy living!
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