Johns River resident Wendy Bawn is warning others after she became ill from a tick-borne disease.
She was bitten by a microscopic tick a few months ago, which was removed by her son with tweezers.
Wendy would recommend to others to remove ticks using a special product from the chemist to freeze off the insect. She said using tweezers could potentially cause a tick to transmit disease.
Wendy had a sore neck and shoulder for three or four days after she was bitten.
She is not certain if the soreness was caused by the tick.
Wendy went to a doctor and underwent a blood test which came back positive for alpha-gal syndrome.
A second blood test has also come back positive for the syndrome.
Alpha-gal syndrome is a recently identified type of food allergy to red meat.
The condition is believed to begin when a tick bite transmits a sugar molecule called alpha-gal into the body.
In some people, like Wendy, this triggers an immune system reaction that later produces mild to severe allergic reactions when they eat red meat or mammal by-products.
Wendy can’t eat any red meat or any by-products from mammals as it might trigger a reaction.
The worst case scenario is that she could have an anaphylactic reaction.
Wendy has to be meticulous when out at restaurants, or choosing products off the shop shelves to ensure she doesn’t eat anything which could pose a risk to her health.
Wendy said she had never heard of the condition before she visited her doctor.
Apart from feeling tired and having low energy levels, Wendy said she hasn’t experienced any other negative side effects from having the condition.
It’s not a condition that will go away either and Wendy will have to continue to watch what she eats to ensure she doesn’t set off an allergic reaction.
She doesn’t know if a recent tick bite caused the condition, or if it was triggered by one that happened a long time ago.
Wendy said just because a person has been bitten by a tick, doesn’t necessarily mean they will end up with a health condition.
“Majority of people have no adverse effects at all,” she said.
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