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830 Alpha-Gal Allergy (archive)

The reaction to a bite from a lone star tick could be a delayed anaphylactic reaction to eating meat. This alpha-gal allergy can be life threatening.
830 Alpha-Gal Allergy (archive)
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In some parts of the country, emergency room physicians have been faced with a puzzling scenario: the patient awakens in the middle of the night with unbearable itching, hives, low blood pressure or trouble breathing. Usually, such an anaphylactic reaction is an immediate response to an exposure like an insect sting. But these people have been in bed for hours.

We talk with a patient who had this frightening experience and with the allergist who treated him. We also learn about the discovery of this improbable allergy to red meat, triggered by the bite of a tick.

The Guests:

Mike Beck is a health and welfare consultant with Hill, Chesson & Woody.

Maya Jerath, MD, PhD, is Mike’s doctor. She is director of the UNC Allergy and Immunology Clinic and assistant professor in Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine.

Thomas Platts-Mills, MD, is professor of medicine and microbiology at the University of Virginia and head of the Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. He is past president of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI). You can find an abstract of his May, 2011, article here.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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