Family of COVID-19 survivor raises awareness about alpha-gal syndrome

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CLEVER, Mo. – For seven years now, one woman in Clever has faced many health setbacks – including three strokes. But, April Archote wants to raise awareness about a new allergy she’s dealing with. It’s called alpha-gal syndrome.               

Alpha-gal syndrome is a food allergy to red meat and other products made from mammals. It comes from a tick bite, and it has changed Archote’s life.

“Nobody has been in our house other than me, my daughter, and my parents since July of 2019,” Archote said. “Very few people can come into our home. Like, if you have a cat, you’re going to send me into anaphylaxis just because you have cat fur on you.”

Archote had alpha-gal symptoms for four years, but didn’t get her diagnosis until July of 2019 when she went into anaphylactic shock. Anaphylaxis is an allergic reaction — which can be life-threatening if it isn’t treated with an epi-pen injection.

Last week, Ozarks First reporter David Chasanov spoke with Ronnae Gordon, Archote’s daughter, whose battle with COVID-19 in August butted heads with her diagnosis of alpha-gal syndrome.

WATCH: Ronnae Gordon Recalls alpha-gal Complications Experienced During COVID-19 Treatment

While doctors continue to research alpha-gal, Archote spends her time talking about her symptoms with others and finding support in Alpha-Gal Facebook groups.

Jennifer Burton, the moderator of a group in Southwest Missouri, also suffers from alpha-gal. Burton says the syndrome is more than just an allergy – it’s life changing.

“My husband and I are both in the care ministry,” Burton said. “It just kind of became a second nature thing to reach out to others because we realized how severe this is and how unknown this is. [We wanted] to reach out to others and let them know they’re not alone.”

Burton got her diagnosis in 2017. She says the best way to avoid alpha-gal is avoiding places ticks may be, wear layers and use bug spray.

Archote’s health setbacks go far beyond strokes and alpha gal, she has also had four brain surgeries and 61 spinal taps.

This is a developing story.

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