It is an allergic response towards red meat and by-products of mammals. Recently it is found that biting from lone star tick transmits the specific antigen which produces allergic reactions when interacting with red meat. Sources of red meat are beef, lamb, and pork and other products from mammals. Avoiding tick bite is the only method to prevent alpha-gal syndrome.
Signs and symptoms appeared late as compared to other allergic reactions like hay fever anaphylactic shock etc. It takes 3-6 hours to appear after exposure to red meat. Following are signs and symptoms of alpha-gal syndrome:
- Runny nose
- Shortness of breath
- Hives and itching
- Diarrhea and vomiting
It develops after lone star tick bites but other types of ticks also involved in other areas in the world. Some chemotherapy drugs also produce the same reaction as Erbitux and rituximab.
Complications of the alpha-gal syndrome are related to anaphylactic shock and it requires treatment urgently. Complications include:
- Airway obstruction
- High pulse rate
- Low blood pressure
- Swelling of the throat
- Loss of consciousness
Alpha-gal syndrome is a diagnosis by performing test which rules out the cause of the allergic reaction. Your doctor also asks you some questions about your food and travel history and interactions with ticks.
Following tests are required to diagnose this syndrome:
- Blood test. To check the antibodies in your bloodstream.
- Skin test. To check the immune response towards red meat.
Avoid the food which causes the allergic reaction like red meat of pork, lamb, and beef before dining outside must check the ingredient present in the food. Injection of adrenaline is a life-saving drug during an acute severe attack.
- Use ice to reduce the swelling
- Take antihistamine
- Avoid traveling the forest
- Wore clothes that cover the full body
- Nasal decongestion spray