Here's What You Need To Know About The Alpha-Gal Syndrome You Suspect You're Suffering From

Alpha-Gal Syndrome is caused by Lone Star ticks that transmit a special kind of sugar molecule when they bite. Once bitten, the immune system can change in a way that makes you allergic to eating any red meats. Here's what you should know about Alpha-Gal Syndrome if you suspect you're suffering from it:

The Diagnosis

To find out whether you're really suffering from Alpha-Gal syndrome, your doctor will want to schedule a consultation appointment with you to diagnose the disease before taking any further steps. Your doctor will likely start by asking about your exposure to ticks and learning more about the symptoms that you have been experiencing.

They'll want to know how severe your symptoms get and whether any antihistamines you've taken have helped those symptoms. Then they will want to actually do some testing to diagnose the presence of Alpha-Gal syndrome.

Your healthcare provider may test your blood to find out if the syndrome's antibodies are in it. They may also want to do a skin prick test, which involves pricking your skin with a red meat extraction to see if an allergic reaction occurs. If you test positive for the syndrome, your doctor will want to start talking about treatment.

The Treatment

Unfortunately, there aren't any medications or injections you can take to get rid of Alpha-Gal Syndrome. You will likely have to refrain from eating any red meat products if you want to avoid experiencing allergic reactions, such as the development of hives and rashes. Your doctor will provide you with a list of ingredients that you might not readily recognize while shopping for foods at the store so you can compare the list to ingredient labels and ensure that you avoid buying products with any red meat substances in them.

You might be surprised at how many products are flavored with red meat extracts, so it is very important to take your doctor's food list with you any time you head to the store—even if it's just for a snack at the gas station. You'll also have to be careful when dining at restaurants. If you're ever unsure whether something has red meat in it, your best bet is to avoid eating it at all.

Your doctor will also tell you what to do if you end up experiencing a severe allergic reaction to red meat. They may give you an epinephrine injector to keep handy that can be used to combat the reaction.

There is a chance that you'll be able to eat red meat again at some point in the future if you avoid getting any more tick bites. So, you should work closely with your doctor to continue testing for the Alpha-Gal Syndrome as time goes on.