How New Ticks Bites Impacted Us
People with Alpha-gal Syndrome Describe What Happened When Ticks Bit Them Again
I have fume reactions all the time.
1. My first fume reaction was a week after additional lone star tick bites. I was cooking beef gravy at work. My throat began to close and tickle, and I had shortness of breath and nausea. It was a mild airborne reaction, but the beginning of many to come. It is also when the smell of heated beef, pork, or dairy was no longer appealing, and it felt like I had a new superpower of smell. I could smell alpha-gal allergen offenders much more strongly from here on, and even in and household and bathing products.
2. While driving near Cook-Out or Burger King as their smoke billows out, my throat tickles and I cough in my closed up car. One time I was riding with others and we stopped at a light. I felt the tickle and shortness of breath. I asked if there was a burger place nearby. Everyone looked around and found one behind us.
3. The most serious fume reaction I’ve had was to my apartment neighbor’s grill. My dog needed to go outside, so I had to walk through the grill smoke, once on the way out, and on the way back in. Shortly after, he needed to go back outside, so I walked back through it twice more. I became very dizzy and fatigued, and also very weak. I lied down on the couch. I could not keep myself awake. I passed out. My dog woke me up later by barking and growling at me, which he never does. I knew something wasn’t right. No one else was home with me. I picked up my phone and wondered if I should call for help, but I was so weak no words would come out when I tried to speak to my dog, so I gave up and I dropped the phone back on the table. I could not focus or concentrate to dial for help. It was no use. I was too weak to get an epi-pen. My mind was also not thinking straight and I gave in to the worst that could happen, and accepted it, and fell back asleep/passed out again. Only later did I realize how serious this could have been.
4. I was at work and someone brought in fresh food with still steaming ground beef. They needed to talk to me, but meanwhile the smell of the hot beef was beginning to affect me. I began slurring, then losing balance and stumbling, then talking unnecessarily much, but with some confusion. I noticed my coordination was off. I felt a tingle on the top of my head, which is strangely my personal warning that my symptoms will progress. I was exposed for maybe 15 minutes total before I left. Driving home I noticed my cheeks became tight, eyes watering, a migraine starting, shortness of breath and cough, and my depth perception was hindered. I also began to feel nauseated, lightheaded, and weak. I felt some paranoia and panic setting in which I could not control. I knew it was the histamine increase and the way my body responds. I needed to get home safely, but I was so afraid it was too late. It took all I had to make it home safely. Looking back, I should not have been driving. The entire day following I was fatigued with aches and a migraine, and had to minimize my activities at work.
5. I volunteer at the animal shelter. Everytime I leave, after only being there an hour, I feel a thick tickle in my throat and shortness of breath. Sometimes my cheeks turn red. Up to 24 hours later I have symptoms related to this exposure, mostly consisting of migraines and extreme fatigue and aches.
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