Though nobody is ever happy to hear news that relates to ticks and tick-borne diseases, these news stories are nevertheless important in America today given the threat of tick-borne diseases in the country. Ticks have not always been in the daily news, as tick activity and the diseases that they carry have become more aggressive during the past two decades. While contracting lyme disease may not have been likely during our parent’s childhood days, debilitating tick-borne diseases are infecting more and more Americans each year. When it comes to ticks in the news today, we mostly hear about lyme disease, and the many efforts being made within the scientific community to develop a method of lyme-treatment. Of course, lyme disease is not the only tick-borne disease that people can, and are, contracting in the United States. For example, there is Rocky Mountain spotted fever, which is not nearly as common as lyme, and there is even a particular type of allergy that people can develop if they happen to sustain a bite from a tick. The Alpha-Gal allergy is a meat allergy, and it develops in humans in response to bites from lone star ticks. Alpha-Gal has not been discussed extensively in the news, as the allergy was only recently discovered, but developing this allergy in response to a tick bite can be both a blessing and a curse for some victims.
A teenager from Kansas, Hayden Hurtig, recently developed Alpha-Gal, and he can tell you first hand that having this disease changes more than just your diet. Obviously, Hayden can no longer consume meat due to the particular immune response that he developed after sustaining a lone star tick bite. Hayden now has a lifelong allergy to meat, but he is not letting that get him down, as his tick-induced allergy is forcing him to eat healthier and take better care of himself. After enduring months of physical symptoms that included swollen lips and flu like symptoms, a doctor finally correctly diagnosed his condition as Alpha-Gal. Hayden now carries an Epipen with him everywhere he goes, and he must follow a strict diet. Some of his friends refuse to believe that there is anything wrong with him since they have never heard of his allergenic condition. This has prompted Hayden and both of his parents, to raise public awareness concerning Alpha-Gal Syndrome.
Would contracting Alpha-Gal syndrome disrupt the quality of your life? Or do you think that you would adapt to your condition quickly?