From the moment of your Alpha-Gal diagnosis going forward, you became your family and friends’ best advocate. Your own Alpha-Gal numbers can change for the worse if you don’t take personal precautions. Here is what the Mayo Clinic has to say about prevention:
- Cover Up. When in wooded or grassy areas, wear shoes, long pants tucked into your socks, a long-sleeved shirt, a hat and gloves. Try to stick to trails and avoid walking through low bushes and long grass. Keep your dog on a leash.
- Use insect repellants. Apply insect repellent with a 20 percent or higher concentration of DEET to your skin. Parents should apply repellent to their children, avoiding their hands, eyes and mouths. Keep in mind that chemical repellents can be toxic, so follow directions carefully. Apply products with permethrin to clothing or buy pre-treated clothing.
- Do your best to tick-proof your yard. Clear brush and leaves where ticks live. Keep woodpiles in sunny areas.
- Check yourself, your children and your pets for ticks. Be especially vigilant after spending time in wooded or grassy areas.
- It’s helpful to shower as soon as you come indoors. Ticks often remain on your skin for hours before attaching themselves. Showering and using a washcloth might remove unattached ticks.
- Remove a tick as soon as possible with tweezers. Gently grasp the tick near its head or mouth. Don’t squeeze or crush the tick, but pull carefully and steadily. Once you’ve removed the entire tick, dispose of it and apply antiseptic to the bite area.
With Alpha-Gal, avoidance can cause your numbers to decrease, and in time (many years) it may be possible to recover from this, making it an utmost priority to avoid reinfection by ticks.