Something I Didn't Want to Find

Waterhead

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Sep 15, 2015
31
149
South Eastern Virginia
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Folks, I thought I'd throw this out there as a caution for everyone in this hobby.

I'd been having an unknown allergic reaction about one time a year. It would start out with unexplained itching in my ears, move into my hands and within minutes, I'd break out into massive hives. I'd have to immediately get some slugs of Benadryl in me and get into a hot shower to get relief from the intense itching. Each time I had a reaction, it seemed to get a little worse. I noticed that the reaction never occurred after eating or after taking meds so it dumbfounded me. I had no idea what was causing it.

About 7 weeks ago, I had another reaction and quickly went into Anaphylaxis shock. I was barely able to get a 911 call out and was found outside by my neighbor. I am lucky to have made it an probably wouldn't be here if it weren't for getting Benadryl in me when I first felt the signs. Even the ER Doctor didn't know what to make of it. After an ambulance trip to the hospital, I met with an Allergist. Subsequent to blood work, I was diagnosed with an Alpha-Gal allergy which was the result of a bite by the Lone Star Tick which is very common here in Virginia. The tick (if its a carrier) releases a Protein which contains the Alpha-Gal which is a sugar or carbohydrate molecule. You body's immune system attacks it as evasive. (I reckon that's right...or close) Because of the bite, I have become allergic to all red meat, beef, lamb pork and possibly all milk products. I was already allergic to fish so you can see how this has impacted me. God help me if chickens ever become extinct.

The day I had my emergency, I had eaten a hamburger around 11:30. I didn't have my reaction until 4:15 or so. I normally takes 3 to 8 hours for red meat to break down and release Alpha-Gal into the blood stream. Yep, red meat also contains Alpha-Gal so my body 's immune system now attacks it, or me, when I consume red meat.

Now I carry Benadryl and EpiPen's with me all the time. Right now, no red meat at all. I'm not sure if this will be life-long or not. I'll be tested again in 6 months.

This allergy has been misdiagnosed by doctors for some time on all kinds of folks. As doctors are now becoming aware of this allergy, more people are properly being diagnosed.

So my reaction consisted of severe hives, itching in the ears and hands and finally Anaphylaxis shock. I have read that symptoms can also include stuffy or running nose, feeling nauseated, vomiting, developing hives or a rash on the skin, sneezing. headaches and shortness of breath.

Ticks are pretty common in this hobby so please take precautions and properly spray off and check for ticks after you get home. This stuff is no joke and has been a life changer for me. I was on the grill every week so this is tough. I've now eaten chicken every way it can be cooked and it gets old quick.

I just talked with a lady today who gets hives every time she eats red meat. I believe she's going to see her doctor to be tested. If I were a betting man.... just saying.

If you or any people you know are having unexplained allergic reactions, this MAY be a culprit. I wanted to put this out here to inform everyone about this allergy and its symptoms. Anaphylaxis is the extreme part of this allergy and can be deadly. My blood pressure dropped dangerously low during my reaction. You can get high blood pressure down but not low pressure up.

Everyone who spends time outside need to be informed about this. I will probably post this on a couple other forums to get the word out.

Get digging!
 

Megalodon

Silver Member
May 13, 2018
2,650
4,369
Maryland
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Waterhead,

Now that you have been properly diagnosed, I hope you find relief through the combination of diet and meds. I am sure that you are right that this is often mis-diagnosed so Thank You for alerting others about this danger.

This is what happens in an ecosystem out of whack. We've destroyed the large predators and allowed deer to overpopulate. More deer = more ticks. Hunting, the best way to control deer populations, becomes more limited every year and even the animals that consume large numbers of ticks, like bobwhite quail, have become either very scarce or they have disappeared.

You are doing a real service with posting your story and we should take heed of it. I'll add Vibrio (aka "flesh eating bacteria") as another increasing danger to those of us who water hunt in brackish waters. The recommendation for Vibrio is to wash with soap completely as soon as possible after exposure to brackish water and to avoid exposure completely if one has open wounds or a compromised immune system. It has become a serious problem in the increasingly polluted Chesapeake Bay that I wade several times a week.
 
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laidback4sho

Hero Member
Aug 31, 2014
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Laconia, NH
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Me and a guy at work were just talking about this tonight. Also, I'd like to, if I may, do this group a service in suggesting the best way I've found to combat ticks. Well, actually, any insect. It's called permethrin, for those who don't know about it.

Permethrin is an extract of the chrysanthemum and is absolutely deadly to insects. Also take note: it is deadly to cats when it's wet. Once dry, however, it's perfectly safe.

Some people buy the Sawyer's brand permethrin in the yellow bottle. This is a waste as it costs around $14.00 and only treats one change of clothing. I buy the concentrated stuff off Amazon which makes up to twenty gallons. Just search Amazon for "36.8% permethrin". It varies in price, but I got it for less than thirty dollars a bottle. This was two years ago and I'm nowhere near running out.

Just throwing that out there for anyone who needs it.

Be well, friends.
 

JKicker

Jr. Member
Jul 10, 2017
49
102
Tullahoma, Tennessee
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I was attending church with a fellow who had the same thing. Life changing maybe an understatement.

My wife was diagnosed with the whatever it's called that requires her to eat gluten free stuff. Some of our learnings make me think of a couple of questions for you. Can your grill grates or other cooking surfaces/utensils be contaminated when the red meat touches them?

Would something like a beef bullion cube or beef stock cause a reaction?

We had to be very careful with her condition when we ate at a restaurant because of the contamination. No one had heard of either of these conditions a few years ago so hopefully the scientists will develop treatments soon.
 

smokeythecat

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Nov 22, 2012
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I'm feeling for you. I also cannot do seafood, so if the lone stars get me, I'm down to chicken and turkey only. The just had a big article on the weather channel on this recently. Carry that benadryl. I've had an epi pen for bees for more than 20 years now and have never had to use it. It's one reason I stop detecting in May and don't start up again till October or November. Except for the beach which won't have yellow jackets or such.
 

Rookster

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Nov 24, 2013
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That's one reason we eat Turkey burgers, Turkey spaghetti etc. But if I eat red meat it's well done.
 

BLK HOLE

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Aug 3, 2017
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Sorry for your condition. I REALLY HATE TICKS now I have another reason, I love red meat....of course my wife makes me eat chicken and turkey :BangHead:
 

Megalodon

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May 13, 2018
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Maryland
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DeepseekerADS

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Mar 3, 2013
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SW, VA - Bull Mountain
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Wow, this is shocking. I'm sorry for your health issues and praise Our Father I've not been hurt by the many tick bites I've had - 17 last year and 9 so far this year.

I did have one NASTY bite this year on my belly just above my waist - almost immediately swelled up to the size of half a softball. Just on impulse I taped a slice of onion over the bite and within just a couple hours the swelling went away and it completely calmed down and healed.

On the other hand, I had a bite on my right calf about a month earlier and to date it still scabs up.
 

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