Not knowing the cause, the doctor put me on antihistamines and prednisone.
That night, after having some bacon and cheese bread, I began throwing up and got a bad stomach.
After that, whenever I ate meat or fish I’d get sick.
One day a friend said her husband had the same issues.
‘It was caused by a paralysis tick,’ she said.
That’s when I remembered the pesky one that had bitten me!
The tick had given me mammalian meat allergy, or MMA. It occurs when a tick bites a mammal, such as a cow, and then a human - transferring a molecule called alphagal to the person.
Soon, eggs made me sick too.
Next it was cheese, then all dairy products.
One day after rubbing together butter and flour to make a batch of scones for a fund-raiser I was violently ill.
‘I can’t even touch butter now,’ I cried to my hubby Laurence, 62.
Even touching wool or leather made me ill. I had to wear acrylic sweaters and avoid leather shoes.
Ten years on I’m fully vegan.
I’ve lost 15 kilos, bringing me down to 62 kilos, unfortunately the prednisone has given me osteoporosis which has made me shrink by 11cms.
With pre-existing skin and heart conditions, I’ve been left with little energy.
However, I still love to spend time with my grand-kids, and knit with acrylic yarn.
As an accidental vegan, I dream of cheese-covered pizzas.
If I’d frozen the tick and then removed it, as is recommended, I might still be able to eat a slice.
Now, I’m sharing my story so other people don’t pull ticks off like I did.
How to remove a tick:
Freeze don't squeeze!
• Freeze the tick with an ether-containing spray (available at pharmacies) first.
• Once killed, carefully remove it without squeezing the body.
• Apply antiseptic and save the tick in a small airtight container with some moist paper for later identification if you do develop any illness.
For more information visit https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/tick-bites
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