By Josie September 1st, 2023
A bite from this tiny tick could change your life forever – it could make you allergic to red meat.
Imagine a world where a simple walk in the woods could change your diet forever.
This is the reality for many who have been bitten by a particular tick.
The culprit behind this mysterious meat allergy is the lone star tick.
Unlike other ticks that might be carriers of diseases like Lyme disease, the lone star tick is the only one that can make you allergic to red meat.
The lone star tick is primarily inhabits the U.S. South, Midwest, and mid-Atlantic. However, its range is expanding.
The majority of cases are reported from Missouri and Arkansas, stretching east through Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, and North Carolina.
The condition the lone star tick’s bite causes is the alpha-gal syndrome.
It’s caused by an immune reaction to the sugar alpha-gal (galactose-α-1,3-galactose), which is present in the flesh of most nonprimate mammals.
Depending on the severity of the allergy, some might also need to avoid dairy products and gelatin.
Currently, there’s no cure for alpha-gal syndrome. The primary method of management is avoidance.
Prevention is the best approach. If you’re in an area with a high population of the lone star tick, always take precautions!