In Part Two of our exclusive interview, Brenda talks candidly about her brush with Alpha-Gal, a tick-borne virus, and issues a warning to other outdoorsmen and women.
Dream Sporting Trips
Brenda, your brush with the nasty Alpha-Gal tick-borne allergy is something that bears mention. It’s difficult to ignore the risk of tick-borne and mosquito-borne infections which seem to be on the rise. Despite your frightening reaction to the infection, you didn’t give up your love of the outdoors, but instead took greater precautions. Are there any recommendations you can give to our readers, in general, as to how we might protect ourselves from these horrific invaders? Or as to how we might treat the infections? How to find help?
Everyone PLEASE--PLEASE, educate yourself with this somewhat new tick-borne problem called Alpha-Gal. One bite from an infected tick (usually the Lone Star tick) can change your life forever--there is no known cure.
Alpha-Gal causes the infected person to become highly allergic to mammal meat. This includes beef, pork, venison, rabbit, squirrel etc., all of which were my personal favorites. Alpha-Gal is not just reserved for hunters, but anyone is vulnerable if you ever go outdoors, which is everyone I know.
A simple blood test will reveal if you have contracted the allergen, however, many physicians are not yet familiar with the symptoms.
There is an Alpha-Gal facebook page that is informative as well as several websites and articles about the subject. I'm sure I contracted this problematic allergy during Spring turkey hunting since I tend to get more than my share of ticks and maybe wasn't always as precautious as I should have been.
I have eaten only fish and fowl for several years now and while I may be healthier than ever--it wasn't by choice.
Dream Sporting Trips
Thank you again, Brenda, for sharing with our readers this important information. We wish you good health and continued success in your outdoor adventures and in promotion of the value of preserving the hunting and sustainable living lifestyle.
May we call upon you for another interview in the future?
For more information about Alpha-Gal, please sead Brenda's informative article originally published in Turkey Country Magazine and reprinted on her blog: "Alpha-Gal, Another Reason to Hate Ticks"
For more information about The First Lady of Hunting®,
please visit her website: www.brendavalentine.com
and follow her on Facebook at
Brenda Valentine, known as “The First Lady of Hunting®” is an extreme hunter, an award winning TV host, a champion archer, an acclaimed author, and an outspoken advocate for guns and hunting as well as leader of the current women’s hunting movement.
She is a 19-year veteran member of Bass Pro Shop’s National RedHead Pro Hunting Team, National Spokesperson for the National Wild Turkey Federation, an honorary member of the NWTF Foundation Board of Directors, an honorary board member of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation, and a member of the Tennessee Turkey Hunters Hall of Fame. She also had the honor of being the first woman inducted into the National Legends of the Outdoors Hall of Fame.
If that isn't enough to keep her busy, she is also an award winning TV host and radio personality who writes regular columns in NWTF’s Turkey Country, Heartland, and Mossy Oak Biologic Game Keepers magazines.
She will tell you right up front that what is most important is her love of the land and the animals that thrive on it. A lifelong hunter, she is committed to the sustainable lifestyle that hunting promotes, as well as an avid conservationist.