Meat Allergies

Information on the causes of meat allergies and meat allergy symptoms.

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  1. What Are Meat Allergies?
  2. Diagnosing Meat Allergies
  3. What Causes Meat Allergies?
  4. Help for Meat Allergy Sufferers
  5. More Information about Meat Allergies

What Are Meat Allergies?

Meat allergies are uncommon, but can develop at any age. In addition to meat allergies, people can be allergic to additives and preservatives present in meat.

Diagnosing Meat Allergies

Symptoms of meat allergies range from mild to deadly, and usually appear shortly after eating meat or foods that contain meat products. The most common symptom of a meat allergy is the development of hives. Hives are red, swollen welts on the skin that may be large and accompanied by itchiness. Respiratory symptoms such as a scratchy throat, cough, runny nose and increased production of clear mucus may also be present, as well as nausea, vomiting, cramps or loose stools.

The most serious allergic reaction is called anaphylaxis, which is a life threatening emergency. If symptoms of anaphylaxis occur, call 911 immediately. Signs of anaphylaxis include difficulty breathing, rapid pulse, lightheadedness, dizziness, loss of consciousness, and swelling within the airway. Sometimes these symptoms are accompanied by hives or digestive disturbance. Anaphylaxis requires immediate treatment with epinephrine injections.

Causes of Meat Allergy

Meat allergies result from the body mistaking the protein in meat as a foreign, threatening substance. People who have a history of allergies are more likely to develop additional allergies, including an allergy to meat.

Researchers have discovered that people who have been bitten by ticks may develop meat allergies. The body’s response to the tick bite makes the immune system overreact when meat is consumed in the future.

Some children who have milk allergies are prone to beef allergies, and people who have digestive disorders such as leaky gut syndrome are more likely to have allergic reactions.

Additionally, people who are allergic to one type of meat may be allergic to other kinds as well. There may even be sensitivity to meat from different species of animals. For example, a person may be allergic to meat from mammals and poultry.

Help for Meat Allergy Sufferers

The most effective and important intervention is to not consume meat or meat products. Some allergists also recommend that children avoid eating beef if they are allergic to milk.

Allergy testing may help to determine if meat is the offending substance, or if the allergic reaction is caused by an additive. Conventional health care practitioners diagnose allergies using blood tests and skin tests. Natural medicine practitioners may use muscle response testing as well. There is no one test to diagnose allergies. Instead, mainstream and natural health care experts conduct detailed patient histories to learn about reactions, triggers and other health issues when diagnosing and treating meat allergies.

Elimination diets or rotation diets are often recommended by conventional and alternative health practitioners, while people with severe reactions may be provided with a special syringe prefilled with epinephrine to be used in case of a severe allergic reaction.

More Information about Meat Allergies

  • Meats may be hidden in other foods. For example, bouillon cubes, broths and gelatin are meat based.
  • Read labels carefully to see if meats or meat products are contained within prepared foods.
  • Have an emergency plan in place if meat allergies are severe.
  • If a child is allergic to meat, inform teachers and other care givers.
  • A person who is allergic to one form of meat may or may not be able to eat other types.
  • Keep in mind that what may seem to be a meat allergy may actually be a reaction to pesticides, hormones, antibiotics or other additives commonly found in meat.
  • If you are prescribed an auto-injector epinephrine device, make sure it does not expire. Keep it handy at all times and be familiar with its use. Teach another family member how to administer it as well.
  • When dining out, let kitchen staff know that you are sensitive to meat products in case there are hidden sources of meats in sauces, etc.
  • Some medications and supplements are derived from meat. Some calcium is made from bone meal, and some prescription medications are made using desiccated organs. For example, natural thyroid medication contains a thyroid base, however the more commonly prescribed synthetic one does not.
  • Consider a vegetarian diet. Vegetarian diets can be simple, rich in protein and delicious.

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