A Tick Bite Can Make You Allergic to Beef? It’s Called Alpha Gal Syndrome (AGS)

steak on a cutting board

Did you know that a tick bite could cause you to become allergic to meat? It’s called Alpha-Gal Syndrome (AGS), and it can be extremely challenging for those who suffer from it. A recent article by Kicker 102.5 stated that AGS is an underdiagnosed tick-borne illness, and the allergy is often missed or misdiagnosed. The Lone Star tick is responsible for transmitting the AGS allergy, which can take up to 8 hours to show symptoms, making it even harder to diagnose. Symptoms of AGS include GI distress, rash or hives, whole-body itching, and sometimes even Anaphylaxis Shock.

The severity of AGS cannot be overstated. For those with the condition, a simple bite from the Lone Star tick can lead to a lifetime of dietary restrictions and the constant fear of accidental exposure. In some cases, AGS can even lead to life-threatening anaphylaxis. The psychological impact of living with AGS should also not be overlooked, as it can lead to anxiety and social isolation. It’s important for individuals with AGS to have a support system and access to resources to help them manage their condition.

For some people with AGS, the allergy extends beyond beef to all animal meat, fish, dairy, and animal by-products found in medications. This can be a difficult challenge for those who suffer from the condition. At Tick Boot Camp, we have encountered many people who have AGS through our advocacy work, such as Two Alpha Gals and Sara Sheneman. If you suspect that you may have AGS, ask your doctor to run an alpha-gal blood test to supplement a full tick-borne disease panel. For more information on AGS, visit AlphaGalInformation.org.