the NJ.coma newspaper based in New Jersey, USA, which discusses the story of 62-year-old Craig Smith.
After being bitten by a tick in the spring of 2022, Smith was diagnosed with a rare allergic reaction that few had heard of.
The tick was of the Lone Star species, which is found mainly in the eastern and southeastern United States.
– That changed everything. My life has been turned upside down, Smith tells NJ.
– Everything at once
The tick bite caused him to have an alpha-gal allergy – also called a meat allergy. This means that you become allergic to beef, pork, and lamb, as well as dairy products.
NJ writes that Smith became deeply depressed over having to change his eating habits. He told the newspaper that this also affected his relationship with his wife.
Food and medicine. He said that everything came at once, and then it also affected my marriage.
It was a rash on his arms, legs, and back, NJ writes, which led Smith to realize something was wrong. The skin has become swollen, itchy and hot. He paused for a long time without answering the cause of the symptoms.
Confirm the suspicions
It wasn’t until two months later that he realized something might be wrong when he was helping his daughter cut down a tree. He combined it with a conversation he had with an acquaintance, who developed hives before he was diagnosed with a meat allergy.
Blood tests conducted by the doctor confirmed the suspicion.
Alpha-gal allergy is the only carbohydrate-related food allergy we know of, explains Guru Waig of the Norwegian Asthma and Allergy Society in an article on Association website.
– In the case of other food allergies, it is usually proteins that are decisive, and symptoms usually occur within a few minutes. Meat allergy often causes delayed allergic reactions, often two to seven hours after ingestion.
Have you been diagnosed with a meat allergy, or know someone who does? Contact us here.
There is no overview in Norwegian
Ticks are tiny blood-sucking parasites of humans and animals, and they can transmit tick-borne diseases, including Lyme disease, according to the pocket doctor.
The Asthma and Allergy Society writes that ticks can transmit alpha-gal from an animal from which it has previously sucked blood.
According to the association, there are no official figures on how many people have a meat allergy in Norway.
The Norwegian Pharmacopoeia states that the condition is little known and therefore possibly underdiagnosed.
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