Cosby Stone, an allergy and immunology fellow at Vanderbilt University, told National Geographic: “You’re walking through the woods, and that tick has had a meal of cow blood or mammal blood.”
“The tick, carrying Alpha-Gal, bites you and activates your allergy immune system.”
Once the allergy immune system is activated, your body is rewired to fight Alpha Gal sugar molecules. Most people realize they’ve been bitten by the Lone Star tick when they eat meat, which is chock-full of Alpha Gal.
“There’s a time delay in the reaction,” Stone said. “It [the Alpha-Gal] has to first travel through your gastrointestinal tract to be released. Hours later, patients wake up with hives, shortness of breath, vomiting, and diarrhea.”