Notes from a Reader
A very informative note from a reader (published with their permission):
I just recently found your website after reading an online article about tick-related meat allergies. You may have solved a 20-year-old allergy mystery I’ve had. Although I had never previously experienced an allergic reaction to any food or medication, in approximately 1991 I began experiencing increasingly severe allergic reactions (primarily severe hives). Eventually I was able to isolate the cause to fast food hamburgers, and I was further able to determine the problem was beef of any kind. The unusual aspect of the allergic reactions was their delayed onset. Hives would begin to appear exactly 6 hours after consuming beef. And I do mean EXACTLY; I could virtually set a watch by symptom onset. Before I was able to isolate the exact cause of my allergy, the reactions became severe enough to be considered life threatening, increasing in severity with each reaction until I was experiencing severe anaphylaxis. Since isolating beef as the cause of my reactions, I was able to prevent further incidences by avoiding any food containing beef. I could eat chicken and pork without problems. Being an avid deer hunter, I also ate quite a bit of venison, without problems.
Approximately two years ago, suspecting my allergy was related to preservatives in beef products, I began testing my ability to consume “free-range” beef. I found I could eat it without reaction. I further tested my histamine system by sampling small amounts of commercial beef on up through fast food hamburgers, with no reaction. Over the last year I have been freely eating beef with no problems, until a few weeks ago when I again had a 6-hour delayed allergic reaction (hives) to a fast-food hamburger. Since that most recent reaction, I have stopped eating fast food beef.
Being an avid deer hunter, and actually working in the hunting industry (Consulting Wildlife Biologist), I am in the woods and fields of Tennessee and other Southeastern State almost daily. Through the 1980s and ‘90s, I would experience tick bites on a regular basis; easily a dozen or more per year, with literally hundreds of chigger bites. However, since the commercial availability of Permanone (Permethrin) insecticide, my tick/chigger bite numbers have declined dramatically. My work clothing is fully sprayed with Permethrin before every field day. I now probably receive only one or two tick bites and a dozen or more chigger bites per year.