According to a woman from Georgia, a tick bite left her with a severe red meat allergy that caused rashes and her face to swell up.
Karen Taylor, 54, recently revealed to Fox 5 Atlanta how she found out that she has a red meat allergy and what caused it.
“I would just be covered with these big red swells,” she said, adding that the rashes began in September.
In December, her condition became worse as she was waking up with hives almost every day but still did not know what was causing them.
In January, Taylor then decided to eat in a steak restaurant in Florida during her business trip but her face began to swell.
When she felt better the next day, she decided to eat a sausage biscuit, which made her face swell up again.
Fed up, Taylor decided to capture the development of her rashes in a series of selfies, which she showed to an allergist in order to discover the cause of the symptoms.
“Since it was a 6- hour drive, I stopped and had myself an Arby’s roast beef sandwich,” she said. “Not such a good thing to do.”
“My lip just got bigger and bigger and bigger, and my chest started going nuts.”
She was later diagnosed with alpha-gal syndrome, an allergy to red meat.
According to Dr. Kathleen Sheerin of Atlanta Allergy and Asthma, the Lone Star tick, which is usually found in southeastern US, can transmit alpha-gal sugar molecule that can trigger a severe allergic reaction to red meat usually only a few hours after eating.
“So, beef, pork, lamb, venison,” said Dr. Sheerin. “People will eat meat that have been sensitized, and they’ll have a delayed anaphylactic reaction. A bad allergic reaction. Sometimes 4 to 6 hours later. “
Speaking about the new allergy to red meat, Taylor recalled that she was bitten by a tick last summer.
“I remember looking at it and thinking, ‘Well, that’s a really weird looking tick,'” she shared. “It has like a white, yellowy looking spot on its back.”
She now brings an EpiPen everywhere and uses the “Is It Vegan?” app to find red meat-free food.
“So, no gel, no glycerin,” she explained. “My makeup has to be vegan. My hand lotion has to be vegan. My sunscreen has to be vegan.”
Taylor shares that she can still eat white meat such as poultry and fish but decided to go vegan just to be sure.