Local group offers support for Alpha-gal

Alpha-gal Syndrome support group will meet July 21. Members share stories, recipes, and food samples at meetings.


July 5, 2024 - 1:57 PM

Alpha-gal Syndrome is caused by tick bites and causes an allergy to all mammal products. Photo by PIXABAY

Alpha-gal Syndrome (AGS) has been around for a few years. If you’ve been bitten by a tick, there is a blood test to determine if you have any of the diseases that are carried by ticks.

AGS is usually called the “Red Meat Allergy.” However, that is a misnomer. People who develop AGS become allergic to all mammal products, including medications that have any byproduct of a mammal in its making. They can’t eat any beef, goat, lamb, pork or ingest any of the products made by these mammals, Including cheeses, milk, broth, and so on.

Those diagnosed with AGS need to learn how to adjust their diet to satisfy their “old” taste buds.

An area AGS support group started in September 2023 to learn new ways to cook meals. Members share their stories, various recipes and enjoy samples of AGS approved snacks. Those who bring a dish are asked to bring the recipe to share as well.

At one meeting, a person shared a story about someone she knew who got eyelash extensions.

Within a couple of hours after getting them done, her eyes swelled shut. The lash glue had a mammal byproduct in it and she had not known she had developed AGS from a tick bite. She ended up in the Emergency Department for treatment.

There was another case where a young teen kept getting sick to their stomach every time they ate meat. They were losing weight from being able to keep many foods down. The teen and family were discouraged until they found a local doctor who has been testing more and more people with AGS. This teen and a parent have been coming to the meetings and now, with proper changes in their diet, the teen feels 100% better.

The group next meets on July 21, from noon to 3 p.m., at 2401 S. State, Iola.

Those interested are invited to join and discover how to manage this incurable disease.

Each person is different and that’s part of the difficulty in diagnosing AGS. This disease has been rapidly increasing across the southern states and moving north. It’s currently increasing in Arkansas, Texas, Missouri, and Kansas.

Allen County Health Department staff, Brittany Frishman, RN and Lindsey Shaughnessy, RN, have obtained a grant to set up boxes around the Lehigh Portland Trail and other areas to teach people about AGS, offering flyers and sprays.

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