This is a very personal blog post today as I am going to share with you something I just found out about a few weeks ago. First let me start with my symptoms. I started having violent spells of sickness in the middle of the night. Terrible stomach cramps, nausea and diarrhea. I was dripping sweat and thinking I wanted to die I was so sick. I even called in sick a couple of times thinking I had food poisoning. It took everything out of me.
I am also diabetic so I was thinking I was having some complication from that set of issues. I spoke with my physician about it and we took me off a medication that is known to have gastrointestinal problems as a side effect of the medication. But these “spells” just continued to happen. I didn’t have a clue what was going on.
Then they seemed to get worse but again I couldn’t related them to any pattern. One episode I was a work, went into the bathroom right after lunch and started with the same routine but this time I was so hot and wet I was stripping off my clothing. My hands were itching terribly and under my arms and bra line was also itching. I had hives and my pulse rate was racing a little. I had my staff call 911 and I was really starting to get afraid. Because of the itching I took a Benadryl.
Eventually my primary care physician sent me for an allergy consult and I found out that I have a tick caused allergy to mammal meat proteins called Alpha-gal allergy. I can not eat any meat from mammals which includes cows, pigs, deer, lamb and goats. This would go so far as to include milk, and blue cheese or Gorgonzola. The worst part is ICE CREAM.. lol. Strangely I can eat some other cheeses without these issues. I haven’t figured it all out yet.
The allergist told me that this phenomenon was first starting around 2002 but was unnamed until just a few years ago. It is quite serious as it can lead to anaphylactic shock. This is when someone has to use an Epi-pen like others do with bee stings or peanut allergies. This is not a casual matter at all.
So the reason I’m sharing this with you is, 1. inform you that this is a new condition and to just know if you are having strange symptoms pay attention. 2 Protect yourselves from ticks. I don’t even remember having a tick on me, ever.
The CDC says,
“Before You Go Outdoors
- Know where to expect ticks. Ticks live in moist and humid environments, particularly in or near wooded or grassy areas. You may come into contact with ticks during outdoor activities around your home or when walking through leaf litter or near shrubs. Always walk in the center of trails in order to avoid contact with ticks.
- Products containing permethrin kill ticks. Permethrin can be used to treat boots, clothing and camping gear and remain protective through several washings.
- Use a repellent with DEET on skin. Repellents containing 20% or more DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) can protect up to several hours. Always follow product instructions. Parents should apply this product to their children, avoiding the hands, eyes, and mouth. For detailed information about using DEET on children, see recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
- For detailed information about tick prevention and control, see Avoiding Ticks. Detailed information for outdoor workers can be found at NIOSH Safety and Health Topic: Tick-borne Diseases.
After You Come Indoors
Check your clothing for ticks. Ticks may be carried into the house on clothing. Any ticks that are found should be removed. Tumble dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks on dry clothing after you come indoors. If the clothes are damp, additional time may be needed. If the clothes require washing first, hot water is recommended. Cold and medium temperature water will not kill ticks effectively.
Shower soon after being outdoors. Showering within two hours of coming indoors has been shown to reduce your risk of getting Lyme disease. Showering may help wash off unattached ticks and it is a good opportunity to do a tick check.
Check your body for ticks after being outdoors. Conduct a full body check upon return from potentially tick-infested areas, which even includes your back yard. Use a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body. Check these parts of your body and your child’s body for ticks:
- Under the arms
- In and around the ears
- Inside belly button
- Back of the knees
- In and around the hair
- Between the legs
- Around the waist
What to Do if You Find an Attached Tick
Remove the attached tick as soon as you notice it by grasping with tweezers, as close to the skin as possible, and pulling it straight out. For detailed information about tick removal, see the tick removal page.
Watch for signs of illness such as rash or fever in the days and weeks following the bite, and see a health care provider if these develop. Your risk of acquiring a tick-borne illness depends on many factors, including where you live, what type of tick bit you, and how long the tick was attached. If you become ill after a tick bite, see a health care provider.
Reduce Ticks in Your Yard
- Modify your landscape to create Tick-Safe Zones[6.82 MB]. Regularly remove leaf litter and clear tall grasses and brush around homes, and place wood chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas to keep ticks away from recreational areas, and keep play areas and playground equipment away from away from shrubs, bushes, and other vegetation.
- Consider using a chemical control agent. Effective tick control chemicals are available for use by the homeowner, or they can be applied by a professional pest control expert, and even limited applications can greatly reduce the number of ticks. A single springtime application of acaricide can reduce the population of ticks that cause Lyme disease by 68–100%.
- Discourage deer. Removing plants that attract deer and constructing physical barriers may help discourage deer from entering your yard and bringing ticks with them.
Prevent Ticks on Animals
Use tick control products to prevent family pets from bringing ticks into the home. Tick collars, sprays, shampoos, or “top spot” medications should be used regularly to protect your animals and your family from ticks. Consult your veterinarian and be sure to use these products according to the package instructions. For more information on animals and health, see Preventing Ticks on Your Pet.”
I heard yesterday that there was also a rather prominent politician here locally that has been talking about having this same issue. Protect yourself and your family so you don’t have to deal with this.