It may seem odd that there is an article on tick bites on the Dizzy Pig website, but it is an issue that has come up with, not only Dizzy Pig owner Chris Capell, but with other people that we know.
We’ve come to realize that there are so many people that may be affected, but are unable to diagnose that their allergic reactions may be caused by a meat allergy introduced by ticks or chiggers. This article is about spreading awareness.
Some Basic Facts about Food Allergies
There are eight ingredients that are known to cause 90% of all food allergies. Sometimes called “The Big 8”, these ingredients are:
- Tree Nuts
Important InfoHere at Dizzy Pig, we take food allergies seriously and we don’t use any of these top food allergens in our products.
The remaining 10% or so of all food allergy reactions are from other ingredients, and like all allergies, they greatly vary by region and the individual. We are occasionally asked to help customers determine if, perhaps, there might be an ingredient in that bottle of Dizzy Pig that caused a reaction they had.
A customer from Kentucky, who has been a Dizzy Pig fan for years, and had never had an allergic reaction to food, called us because she broke out in hives several hours after eating a beef steak seasoned with Dizzy Pig. She spoke with Chris, and what followed is worth sharing.
Chris began by finding out which spice blend she used, and was surprised since that particular blend had no ingredients we had ever heard of people having reactions to. Chris then asked where she was from, and whether she spent much time outdoors in the woods. Turns out she was from Kentucky, and did, indeed, spend a great deal of time outdoors.
Why would Chris ask such a question?? It’s because he has experienced something that many people don’t yet realize, and thought his experience may be the answer.
Lone Star ticks carry an enzyme called Alpha-Gal that can cause your body to have an allergic reaction to the meat of mammals. Beef, lamb, and pork are all included.Our customer lived in Lone Star Tick country, and this nasty little creature carries an enzyme called Alpha-Gal that wreaks havoc in some of the people it bites. The bottom line is that a Lone Star tick bite (and even some chigger bites) can cause your body to have an allergic reaction to the meat of mammals. Beef, lamb, and pork are all included, though Chris has only experienced the reaction with beef and lamb. Everyone reacts differently, and you may simply get an upset stomach or hives, but there are many reports of swelling of the throat and emergency room visits.
Well, our customer went to her allergist and was tested, and sure enough . . . she tested positive for the Alpha Gal Allergy. Now, knowing the cause, she was extremely thankful and is now free of allergic reactions. She was very happy she did not have to give up her Dizzy Pig!
The Bottom Line
The good news is that it does appear that the allergy lessens over time, but we understand that new tick bites can start the process over again. Chris has been getting by eating very small portions when he has beef or lamb, and rarely has outbreaks anymore. Thankfully, he loves chicken and seafood!
So, be careful out there. Protect yourselves when you are in the woods if you are in tick country, and check yourselves carefully afterward. We were so happy to be able to help this customer diagnose her problem, and now our readers have the knowledge to help others!
We found an Alpha Gal awareness website, and more info can be found by searching “alpha gal allergy”. The Alpha-Gal allergy has probably been around for a while, but it was only officially identified in 2009. So many people have reactions that are never correctly identified, so we wanted to get the word out to all the folks in our lives! If you, or anyone you know, is dealing with allergic reactions after eating red meat, identifying the cause can really improve their quality of life.