There’s a Tick That Can Make You Allergic to Meat; and it’s Spreading
For those of you who have allergies, you know how uncomfortable and pesky they can be. Just the slightest hint of pollen, smoke or dust in the air is enough to make your eyes water, your throat itchy and the sneezes are out of control. In most cases, all it takes to get the madness to stop is an allergy pill.
A food allergy on the other hand is a bit of a different story. If you accidentally eat something with nuts or dairy, the lips begin to swell, your throat begins to close and if you're lucky, your Epi-pen is nearby.
We're all pretty familiar with seasonal and food allergies and how to treat them, but there's a new kind of allergy that currently has no cure and you won't believe what causes it and what it makes you allergic to.
Imagine eating a crisp piece of bacon or sinking your teeth into a thick; juicy burger and not too long after, you start to itch, hives begin to blossom all of your skin and you're folded over the fetal position with severe stomach cramps. You wonder if you just ate a bad piece of meat and brush it off as a bad case of food poisoning; but when it doesn't get better, you start to worry. And you should be worried because this could be a live changing illness for you. Especially if you were bitten by a tick.
According to the Huffington Post, just one bite from Lone Star tick is enough to reprogram your entire immune system to give you an extremely dangerous allergy to red meat; you won't even be able to handle the tiniest nibble of bacon.
By now, you're probably saying, " but I've never even heard of the Lone Star tick; sounds like you'd only find it in Texas." It's true, this tick, which got it's name for the Texas shaped splash of white on it's back, is more prominent in the southeastern states; but researchers say it's spreading.
Here are some more important things you need to know about the Lone Star tick:
- It's an aggressive biter and it's itch can last for weeks; maybe even months.
- The allergy itself is called Alpha-gal. It causes allergic reactions to meat, pork and dairy. There is good news, if you can avoid the tick for five years, you're in the clear.
- The Lone Star tick does not transmit Lyme Disease.
- Male ticks aren't as easy to identify as females. Males look like a deer tick, while females have a white spot on their back.
- The best way to protect yourself is with DEET based repellents, and if you have to go into wooded areas, make sure you wear long pants and socks. Don't forget to immediately check yourself for ticks when you return indoors.