One bite from a lone star tick could make you allergic to meat and they are starting to spread according to some experts.
There is a sugar found in red meat called galactose-alpha 1, 3-galactos, or alphagal for short. It’s a sugar humans become allergic to after being bitten by the tick.
Symptom include hives, shortness of breath and can lead to an anaphylactic reaction. However, symptoms typically don’t show until four to eight hours after the meat is ingested.
The condition was discovered 10 years ago and is still being studied by the medical field. It is not being followed by any health agencies because of how new the condition is.
Lone star ticks get their name from the Texas shaped white spot on their back.
“They like nice warm environments,” says Ronald Saff, an allergist from Tallahassee, Fla. “As the U.S. gets warmer, we anticipate that the tick will migrate to other states.”
The tick is typically found in southern states such as Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana and Kansas, but has now been found in states as north as Minnesota and New Hampshire.
To avoid tick bites while outside:
- Wear light-colored long pants, long sleeves and socks treated with permethrin
- Apply insect repellents with 20-50 percent DEET on skin and clothing
- Check for ticks constantly