Alpha-Gal in the News – Meat Allergy in Children

Check out this ABC News article on our newest research, which looks at mammalian meat allergy in the pediatric population. Also, now that it’s almost summer, the ticks are out in full force, so be sure to check out the CDC’s recommendations on avoiding tick bites!

23 responses to “Alpha-Gal in the News – Meat Allergy in Children”

  1. Sheila Alexander says :

    No one at Dr. Commins’ office ever said, as it does in the article, that most people can return to eating meat in just a few months! I was told this is permanent. How often should I be tested? Is it better to be tested in the height of the tick season or in the winter?

    • Tina Moore says :

      As we do not get bitten by more ticks our allergic reaction decreases. Some people have had this happen to them. T. M. Alpa-Gal group on Facebook.

    • Simone ferguson says :

      I had one tick bite two years ago and I discovered a few days later that I had the meat allergy. A year later, I decided to be tested again and the allergy was totally gone. I have been fine since. There is hope!

    • Sheila Alexander says :

      It didn’t occur to me until this week that we need to be aware of what is in our vaccines – the varicella (chickenpox) vaccine has 15.8 ml of porcine and a trace of bovine in it – I assume in the form of gelatin. Dr. Commins said it shouldn’t be a problem for me, but how about for those who are so much more highly allergic?

  2. Amy Hall says :

    I looked into being re-tested. My allergist didnt see a point. Maybe he is mis-informed. I have had this for over 4 years and since I had a breakout this past fall, from just some cross contamination, I don’t see any signs of this going away.

    • Debora Trent says :

      Amy, I agree completely with you. I have had this allergy about the same amount of time as you and I still get cross contaminated very easily and am also beginning to have a reaction if I have to much milk or milk products which I will get the same reaction as if I was cross contaminated with a meat product. I was also told by my allergist that this was a permanent allergy, I truly hope I will one day get better instead of getting more sensitive. Good thoughts to everyone affected by this!

  3. Regina Nichols says :

    I have had this allergy for… Hold on to your hats! – 34 years! I live in rural Georgia in a heavily wooded area. I have dogs and cats and have been bitten by ticks frequently. I only learned of alpha-gal last year, so had no idea tick bites had anything to do with my allergy until then. Sad to say I have become more sensitive rather than less. Last week I drank a Cherry-berry chiller from McDonald’s, no dairy in the ingredients. When I became bloated with gas that night, I didn’t relate it to the drink. The next morning I felt overly tired, still no thought of allergy. Then came the diarrhea and complete loss of energy, shakiness along with heart palpitations. So I went to McDs website. Asterisk at bottom of ingredients says *dispensed from a machine that also dispenses dairy ( yogurt ). I felt better the next day although I did get an itchy rash on my back that went away in a couple hours.
    Usually if I get a hold of some milk I will have some diarrhea and oddly enough a nightmare. So this reaction was a bit of a shock.
    If I had a child with this allergy I would be very careful about assuming it was getting better.

  4. Steve king says :

    I am an alpha gal recipient and have been told by my allergist that it may go away for a short period of time but if you start back it may only take a few times before you have the same issues again and I am hesitant to start back. He claims the test may show negative but may return after eating the meat. Any info would be appreciated.

    • Bob says :

      My son developed the allergy 3-4 years ago. He had selling of digits, with red rashes and itchiness. After cutting out all mammal meat for about 8-10 months, we started very slight amounts of the meats that he had the lowest reactions too during allergy tests. As time progressed, we have increased the amount he has eaten and the variety. Now, he has no sign of the allergy. We have made sure that he hasn’t received any more tick bites either.

  5. Joyce says :

    Wow has this been a life changer for me! My first an only anaphylactic response was in September of 2012. My allergist only says that he cannot advise me to ever try meat again because it may be the bite that kills me. My labs are in the moderately high range with specific allergies to beef, followed by pork, and then lamb. Also, the ticks seem particularly attracted to me. Go figure? I have been extremely allergic all of my life, but this one certainly has me by the behind.

    • Sheila Alexander says :

      I feel as though the ticks are particularly attracted to me, too! I wonder if there’s anything to that? Other people get a few bites a year – I usually get closer to 20 bites in a season, and yet I stay out of the woods (mostly) in the summer.

  6. Regina Nichols says :

    Me again. The following is a list of things I have reacted to (anaphylaxis, hives, rash, extreme lethargy) over the years: Beef, Pork, pork casings used on turkey sausage, Gelatin ( found in many baked goods), Lamb, Venison, the fat or grease or lard from any of those, milk products including whey, caseinates, some soy “yogurts” that aren’t labeled vegan. Wool gives me contact welts. I avoid products with lanolin. I don’t eat anything cooked on a grill that has been used to grill any meat. I have reacted to food cooked in an iron skillet that had been used to cook meat. Restaurant menus will say a vegetable is steamed but they will throw It on the grill and contaminate it. Barbecue restaurants smoke all the meat together with the chicken, contaminating it. The rash I get from grease takes a course of prednisone (or 2) to recover from! Your home barbecue grill can be another source of reactions. I have one that has never had mammal on it. All this I have learned the hard way. I hope it helps you.

    • York says :

      i am just discovering that I have this allergy. After about the 60th, yest 60th tick bite this yr alone, i had become sicker and sicker and now with 3 counts of anti flactic shock. scared to eat anything. I want to educate myself. I ate at a restaurant for the first time in weeks and all I had was skinned chicken. Within hours my tongue was swelling. Suspect that they cross contaminated it somewhere. My last IgE drawn was a 464. But since then, I had 2 more tick bites and have been very toxic and sick. Would that mean that those numbers will go up. Not sure if those are bad numbers anyway. I think they are high.

      Thanks for any help and or advice.

  7. dwolters says :

    My daughter was diagnosed with Alpha Gal 2 years ago at age 16, but the reactions had been happening for over 2 years, just not diagnosed. So it is definitly in pediatriac population. She was retested last month, after 2 years of no mammal meats, and her level has gone down, but is still very high. We have an added issue: we live on a farm and raise sheep and cows, and she is now in college studying animal science to be a large animal vet. She does have some reaction when handling animlas, especially internally- ie delivering lambs, palpating cows, etc. She now is very careful to glove up prior to working with animals. She is on the 4-H meats judging team, and is on a project to promote beef (meat) but cannot handle or eat it herself.

  8. Weston- Missouri says :

    I don’t have any issues with meat unless I eat it. I can eat all forms of cheese, but milk in too high a quantity will make me feel drunk and sick, for lack of a better term. I do not eat any mammalian meats ever. I have had the allergy since 2007 and learned the official source last year, though I came to understand it was beef and pork causing me the troubles. I almost died the last time I had a reaction because the people in the hospital didn’t know what to do with me, and it wasn’t until my BP was 52/30 that they finally shot me full of enough Benedryll that my legs had tremors for hours afterwards.

    I don’t believe this allergy is anything to mess with. It should be taken seriously at all times. Just give up the meat. It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if the tally sheet wouldn’t come out in our favor at the end of the day by avoiding these meats anyway.

    I’m sure if you don’t eat these meats for quite a long time (I am going on three years now, since my last anaphylactic reaction) you will get away with eating them a few times. That’s how some allergies work anyway (thinking poison ivy here), but it’s a game of Russian Roulette that just isn’t worth it. It’s not worth dying for!

    Besides they do all kinds of things with Turkey meat so that you can’t even tell you aren’t eating *real* hamburger anymore.

    All of you, please be very careful!

    • Bridget Braden says :

      Weston-Miissouri–I’m with you..This allergy is nothing to play around with. (I’m east of K.C., MO btw)…..I do not eat ANY Mammalian meats and I have broken out in hives/heart palps w/ creamer. So I avoid dairy too….when I cheat and have just a little dairy…I get severe ear ringing..weird I know. So for a “quiet”, healthy, feeling great! body….it is worth giving up everything Mammalian. :)…Besides doesn’t everything “taste like chicken” any way?……Also fyi John Grisham (famous author) also has Alpha-Gal

  9. Joyce says :

    I was always extremely allergic as a child (foods, environmental, pets, etc.). I am not surprised that children would develop this allergy too. As a child, there were few things that I could eat. The difference would be that none of those foods ever sent me into anaphylaxis. Instead, I stayed broken out from head to toe continuously and had some breathing issues. The nutritional aspects were very difficult for my mother. It would be a real challenge to reinforce this with children, as it is their nature to want to be like other children. The biggest surprise that I have had is the number of people who are uninformed about this allergy. I can see the look in their eyes that says, “She must be nuts”. At least when I tell them that John Grisham the writer has this; it seems to lend some credibility to the issue. Thanks John:).

  10. Sheila Alexander says :

    I cheat once in a while and have a bite of steak with no noticeable results. The other night it was two big bites. The next day I had severe nasal allergy symptoms – sneezing, watery eyes, etc. Is it likely that this was from the meat? It was just one day, so it seems related.

  11. helen J. Molchan says :

    my allergist diagnosed me last year. Im 71 years old and never had a food allergy. He will retest in a year. I haven’t had any tick bites for a year but he says chiggers can also cause this. I live in SW Missouri. the bug capitol of the USA. He says my test may be neg. Keep me informed of updated Helen

  12. Eric Goetz says :

    Just got tested last week after having symptoms (bloating, cramps, etc.) all summer. Number was not good (above 50). I carry a few chigger bites through the summer, but as I haven’t had any for a while I tried some pork and beef over the weekend with no ill effects. What gives? I don’t get it…

    • mexsteve says :

      I only get reactions it seems when I eat beef or pork in the evening. Lunch non problem? I have not seen anyone else comment on this?

    • helen Molchan says :

      This whole thing is a mystery. Hope they find out more info soon. I get retested this week so we will see how the titers are

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