Q. My 16-year-old daughter was diagnosed with alpha-gal allergy several months ago after numerous trips to the ER. She’s had tick bites that itched, swelled and remained a large hard knot for weeks. She’s also had horrifying late-night reactions in which she was covered in hives.
We live on a farm and raise our own beef and lamb. My daughter handles the sheep and cows daily. She has plans to become a large animal vet and has worked with the university vet in various procedures without any problems.
Avoiding mammal meat is just a way of life for her now. When she is out with groups (4-H, etc.), she often has to skip what they eat (at hamburger cook outs, for example). Her friends understand, as they have seen her with a horrible reaction and don’t want to see that again.
A. Alpha-gal allergy is initially triggered by a tick bite. It leads to a delayed but serious allergic reaction to eating meat. Symptoms may include hives, difficulty breathing or anaphylactic shock.
There is a blood test to confirm the allergy. The only solution is to avoid eating meat. Anyone who would like more details about alpha-gal allergy may wish to listen to our one-hour interview with the researcher who discovered it. Search for radio show # 830 at www.PeoplesPharmacy.com