Beef Allergy IgE Blood Test
The Beef Allergy IgE Blood Test measures the IgE antibody levels in the blood to help detect a food allergy to beef.
What is the purpose of this test?
Order this Beef Allergy IgE Blood Test measures the IgE antibody levels in the blood to detect a food allergy to beef. Beef is red meat from cattle (a steer or cow), such as roasts, ribs, steaks, and ground or minced meat. Although an allergy to beef is uncommon, some hypersensitive individuals may experience an extreme allergic reaction after consuming beef or beef-based products. In addition, due to cross-reactivity, individuals with an allergy to beef may also be allergic to other mammalian meat, such as lamb, venison, pork, or rabbit. Therefore, this Beef Allergy IgE Blood Test may help screen for an allergy to beef and aid healthcare providers in developing a management and treatment plan.
What causes an allergy to beef?
Once an individual with a beef allergy ingests beef or its products, it triggers a response in their immune system. The immune system views specific proteins in beef as harmful and produces IgE antibodies to combat these invaders. Unfortunately, these antibodies cause the chemical histamine to be released, which will cause the symptoms associated with an allergic reaction.
Another cause for allergic reactions to beef is if the individual has a history of tick bites, specifically the Lone Star tick. The Lone Star tick has been discovered to cause sensitivity to alpha-gal, a sugar molecule found in mammals such as beef, lamb, pork, rabbit, and venison. In addition, alpha-gal can be found in red meat and products made from mammals, including gelatin, cow's milk, and milk products. The alpha-gal molecule is located in the saliva of the Lone Star tick, usually after feeding on the blood of mammals like cows, pigs, sheep, and deer. Individuals that have been bitten by this tick, especially those bitten repeatedly, become sensitized and produce IgE antibodies that cause an allergic reaction known as Alph-Gal syndrome (AGS). AGS symptoms may occur 3-8 hours after consuming red meat and even medications containing alpha-gal.
When should I order a Beef Allergy Blood Test?
Individuals may order this Beef Allergy Blood Test if they have experienced symptoms related to a beef allergy. Allergy symptoms vary depending on the individual, ranging from mild to severe reactions. Most food-related symptoms occur within two hours of ingestion; however, they frequently begin within minutes. In addition, the response can be delayed by four to six hours or even longer in some rare cases.
An allergic reaction may affect the skin, intestinal lining, and air pathways. Individuals with a beef or red meat allergy may experience the following symptoms:
- Tingling sensation near or around the mouth
- Abdominal pain
- Heartburn or indigestion
- Nausea or vomiting
- Itching or hives
- Difficulty breathing, swallowing or wheezing
An extreme, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis may sometimes occur. An anaphylactic response requires immediate medical attention. Signs or symptoms of anaphylaxis may include:
- Rapid or increased heart rate
- Swollen throat or lump making it difficult to breathe
- Low blood pressure
- Extreme dizziness or loss of consciousness
What products should I avoid if I have a beef allergy?
Individuals allergic to beef or red meat should avoid the following products:
- Red meat (such as beef, pork, lamb, venison, rabbit, etc.)
- Meat broth, stock, gravy, or bouillon
- Cow's milk
- Milk products
- Canned soups and stews
- Products made from or cooked in mammalian fat
- Certain meat dishes
- Frozen meals that may contain red meat
- Certain medications
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