There have been many articles in the news and even in Terrain Magazine about the potential disease carrying problems with tick bites. Lyme, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis, etc. One disease that seems to not be mentioned is Alpha Gal Allergy. After 4 or 5 years of “what the heck is wrong with me” and seeing 4 or so doctors, I figured it out through an internet search after looking at an old blood test report that one doctor said not too worry about. The blood report stated that I had an elevated allergic response to beef and pork. At that time, the doctor had said it was a false positive. The Alpha Gal Allergy was confirmed through a simple blood test that I demanded from my doctor.
What is Alpha Gal Allergy? Well it’s basically an allergy to any mammal product introduced into the body via the Lonestar Tick. Mammal products include meat, milk, cheese, yogurt, gelatin (which also means many medications and supplements). I learned the last one the hard way after a dental procedure. Mammal products are used in so many products that I have to research or call manufacturers and ask. There is also a red algae extract called carrageenan that will trigger allergic reactions that is used as a filler for many products and unfortunately sometimes used when plumping up chickens during processing or a preservative spray for fish. Two things I can eat.
The symptoms are so numerous and also vary by individual which includes anaphylaxis and death. I basically had years of migraines, red facial flushing, late night hives (really sucks), upset stomach issues, and also moments of extreme spells of restlessness and heightened anxiety (Anaphylaxis precursor). I blamed the ladder on the migraines because it also occurred together but it was actually the mammal products that caused them both. Also, the allergic reactions show up 4 to 12 hours later which makes this disease hard to diagnose. As soon as I stopped the mammal products, ALL of the listed symptoms went away. Yep-ALL of them.
I am telling this story because maybe I can help one person who is experiencing issues. The medical community is unfortunately unaware of this disease. I was told I had too much stress, given migraine medication which I never took, and also told I had an autoimmune disease most likely rheumatoid arthritis and told I would be taking immunosuppressors. (Never did). There were other things diagnosed but I don’t remember them all. LOL. A buddy at work has a friend who has it and experiences the same symptoms as me. He though, will experience anaphylaxis issues to the point of an emergency.
This disease can go away on its own or get worse with additional tick bites. It can also turn more severe for no reason so now I have an Epipen.
This is one of the better alpha gal websites I’ve found:
Like I mentioned, hopefully this can help another person. We’ve all had tick bites……probably a lot of tick bites. I know I have with all of our outdoor adventures. If you have questions you can PM me. There is one doctor in the area that I see that is educated on this disease.
Ride on GORCsters, but use that bug spray and perform those tick checks. I still ride but use OFF though my bush-whacking days are over for now. I try to avoid trails with heavy growth now.