Lone star tick bites are making lifelong carnivores suddenly allergic to red meat — some people develop hives everywhere and others have almost died!
“Gastrointestinal issues, rashes, hives, and eventually four anaphylaxis episodes, the last one I nearly died,” stated Jennifer Burton to KFSM.
Lone star ticks can be found in the Southeast region of the U.S., from Texas to Iowa, and they have expanded further north, including New York, Maine, and Minnesota. It’s believed that there are more than 5,000 cases of the meat allergy caused by the tick in the U.S. The recent rise of tick-related meat allergies might be caused by climate change. Because of shorter winters, the ticks might have more time to spread diseases.
The meat allergy is also known as alpha-gal allergy. Alpha-gal is a sugar that animals make in their bodies — humans don’t make it. When the lone star tick bites someone, it can cause a person’s immune system to produce antibodies to the sugar in red meat, which can lead to the development of a red meat allergy.
And while the pesky lone star tick is not the only cause of alpha-gal allergies, it’s believed to have caused approximately 80% of recorded cases.