Hello Tick Bite, Goodbye Red Meat
Thousands of Americans are now testing positive each year for a condition that causes allergic reactions to eating red meat. The instigator? A tick bite! More specifically, alpha-gal syndrome or AGS
Alpha-gal is a sugar found in meat from mammals and products made from mammals. AGS is a serious allergic condition that some people experience after they consume that sugar and it’s alive and, should I say, not-so-well here in the Southeast.
The CDC reports that between 2010 and 2022, there were more than 110,000 suspected cases. However, because the diagnosis requires a positive test and exam, and some individuals may not get tested, it is estimated that as many as 450,000 people might have been affected by AGS in the United States.
Symptoms are wide ranging including hives or itchy rash; nausea or vomiting; heartburn or indigestion; diarrhea; cough; shortness of breath or difficulty breathing; drop in blood pressure; swelling of the lips, throat, tongue, or eye lids; dizziness or faintness; or severe stomach pain.
CDC reports that knowledge about diagnosis and management is low amongst many healthcare providers, leading to an added emphasis on preventing tick bites.