Chef tells experience fighting severe tick-borne food allergy - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Chef tells experience fighting severe tick-borne food allergy

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

A severe case of food allergies brought on by a tick could have killed a local chef, and now she has a warning for others.

Red meats and dairy are now out of September Norman's diet. As a chef, food has been her life, but she almost lost her life because of those foods on a family trip this summer.

"I was awoken about 3 in the morning with severe itching. My hands were on fire," Norman said. "My face looked like a giant red balloon. My lips were red like I had on bright red lipstick, and I was just very swollen."

She was rushed to the emergency room, where doctors ruled it as some kind of allergic reaction. But even with an EpiPen and steroids, three days later, Norman was back in an ambulance.

And that's when she started to put the pieces of the puzzle together.

Norman remembered that about six months prior, she was doing some yard work when she was bitten on the foot by a Lone Star tick.

The type of deer ticks with the white star on their backs are becoming more common in the Southeast, and their bites have been diagnosed as the cause of delayed food reactions.

"There is some evidence that these ticks contain the alpha-gal sugar. That is the carbohydrate people react to in their guts, so they are introducing it into the skin," said Vanderbilt University Medical Center allergist Dr . Robert Valet.

It is the same sugar that in red meat can cause the severe allergic reaction.

The bad news is the allergy won't go away, so Norman now spends more time and money finding those hidden triggers on labels.

"Some of my vitamins had pork in them. I can't have anything with gelatin, because that's meat," she said.

But, on the bright side, she does plan on using some of the substitutes she's discovered to work on some new recipes.

Doctors recommend wearing repellent and checking for ticks any time you go outdoors. And if you do have a persistent itching, see an allergist and get tested.

Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

  • Chef tells experience fighting severe tick-borne food allergyMore>>

  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • Accused serial rapist and killer undetected working as cop

    Accused serial rapist and killer undetected working as cop

    Thursday, April 26 2018 2:39 AM EDT2018-04-26 06:39:08 GMT
    Thursday, April 26 2018 5:30 AM EDT2018-04-26 09:30:29 GMT
    (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli). Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, left, talks to reporters about the arrest Joesph James DeAngelo, seen in photo, on suspicion of committing a string of violent crimes in the 1970's and 1980's after a news conference. ...(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli). Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, left, talks to reporters about the arrest Joesph James DeAngelo, seen in photo, on suspicion of committing a string of violent crimes in the 1970's and 1980's after a news conference. ...

    The suspected Golden State Killer became less prolific but deadlier after losing his job as a police officer.

    More >>

    The suspected Golden State Killer became less prolific but deadlier after losing his job as a police officer.

    More >>
  • Netflix: What's coming and going in May

    Netflix: What's coming and going in May

    Wednesday, April 25 2018 2:59 PM EDT2018-04-25 18:59:20 GMT
    Wednesday, April 25 2018 6:33 PM EDT2018-04-25 22:33:26 GMT

    Among the items leaving for the month are hit movies like "Disney's The Jungle Book," "Bridget Jones's Diary" and "Talladega Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby."

    More >>

    Among the items leaving for the month are hit movies like "Disney's The Jungle Book," "Bridget Jones's Diary" and "Talladega Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby."

    More >>
  • Caught on video: Pit bull attacks woman on Subway

    Caught on video: Pit bull attacks woman on Subway

    Wednesday, April 25 2018 11:18 PM EDT2018-04-26 03:18:25 GMT
    Wednesday, April 25 2018 11:20 PM EDT2018-04-26 03:20:24 GMT

    Authorities in New York City are searching for the owner of a dog after a woman was attacked by the animal on the subway. The incident was caught on camera.

    More >>

    Authorities in New York City are searching for the owner of a dog after a woman was attacked by the animal on the subway. The incident was caught on camera.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly