Alpha-gal syndrome causes people to have a delayed allergic reaction to mammalian meats like cow, venison, lamb, and pork. Although its discovery is relatively new, described for the first time in 2006 by researchers at the University of Virginia, the number of adults and children affected by alpha-gal is rapidly growing.
At Langford Allergy, we are committed to raising awareness about this serious allergy. There are ways you can protect yourself and your family from being exposed. Call us at 478-787-4728 to schedule an allergy blood test for alpha-gal syndrome.
Tick bites, primarily from the lone star tick, are the cause of alpha-gal syndrome. Lone star ticks are prevalent in the southeastern and south central United States. Dr. Langford believes that other ticks might also cause alpha-gal.
Symptoms of Alpha-Gal Syndrome
Typically, people with food allergies experience allergic reactions within minutes of ingesting or coming in contact with an allergen. However, alpha-gal symptoms don’t show up until three to six hours after eating or touching mammalian meat, making it tricky to diagnose. Symptoms of alpha-gal include:
- Sudden weakness
- Upset stomach
- Swelling of the lips, tongue, and throat
- Difficulty breathing
- Anaphylactic shock
Who Is Susceptible to Alpha-Gal?
Any activity bringing you into contact with ticks can put you at risk. This includes:
- Walking through tall grass
- Spending time in wooded, outdoor area
- Picnicking outside
- Swimming in a river, pond, or lake
How to Prevent Alpha-Gal Syndrome
The only way to protect yourself and your family from alpha-gal syndrome is by preventing tick bites. When you or your children are outside, especially in a wooded area, be sure to use repellents designed to shield the skin from becoming a target for a tick bite.
Permethrin is a contact insecticide that should be applied to clothing, gear, sleeping bags, tents, etc. Permethrin kills ticks that travel over at least 10 inches or more of material. It does not harm the skin, and can continue working for three to four weeks, even after the material has been washed.
Deet is a repellent applied to the skin that creates a protective barrier to confuse ticks, and keep them from biting.
Schedule a Blood Test Today
If you believe you may have alpha-gal syndrome, schedule a blood test at Langford Allergy. Call 478-787-4728 to set up an appointment.