Wholly Healthy: Alpha-Gal Syndrome

Although summer is drawing to a close, those of us in the South know that summer goes on and on, and Autumn can feel a lot like summer — so can parts of winter and spring. As such, it seems there are always bugs around. We learned this painful lesson in our log house, when it seemed that every new season brought a new, and different, infestation that seemed a little like a series of biblical plagues (ranging from ladybugs to scorpions!).

Speaking of insects, it turns out there’s a very interesting disease that has been identified in relation to the bite of the lone star tick. This tick causes those who are bitten to have an allergy … to a type of sugar. The sugar is called “alpha gal,” or “galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose.” The condition is called “alpha-gal syndrome.” In fact, this allergic reaction can be extremely dangerous — even life-threatening.

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