A couple of clarifications on alpha gal syndrome, the “red meat” allergy. First, the alpha gal that lone star ticks inject doesn’t come always from previous blood meals. If it did, then any tick could cause it, but only lone star tick bites are known to cause it, even from nymphs that haven’t had a blood meal. Second, dealing with it is not as simple as just avoiding red meat because many with AGS react strongly to fumes from cooking meat, cross contamination from utensils and cooking surfaces used to prepare mammal meat, close contact with cat and dogs, or manufactured food and drug products containing ingredients derived from mammals such as gelatin, magnesium stearate, etc. AGS was discovered, in part, due to reacts to chemotherapy drug with mammal origins.
Timely article, having just had a visit with my medical practitioner regarding a suspected tick bite and possible infection. Although the presented signs were not classical red rash (instead were a black and blue bullseye around a bite), symptoms are. Luckily the MD is knowledgeable enough to not dismiss the possibilities of tick-borne pathogens and disease. Many other medical practitioners are not knowledgeable and are too quick to dismiss atypical signs and symptoms that do not match the classic signs.
Educating the medical community is as important as the general public. My practitioner actually recommends bi-annual serology testing for Lyme and other tick-borne diseases in patients whose occupations are in high-risk environments (e.g. field biologists such as myself).
Scary and very infomative article covering danger of tick bites.
It would have been nice to include instructions on how to remove a tick following the advice to give oneself an inspection after exposure within tick infested areas. I’ve got a hodgepodge of ideas about how to do it regarding hot needles, vasaline, and other vague, incomplete ideas about how to do it but none of it is really clear in my head. Removal procedure(s) would have been a helpful addition to the article.
I’m sure the info is easily found on the web though in other places so I’ll go looking.
The mention of Doxycycline is handy info. Sounds like carrying a supply of that for immediate use would be a good idea if in tick country.
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