Ticks and tick-borne diseases increasingAnd the It was years ago. While we usually think of Lyme disease when we think of ticks, there are plenty of other problems that a tick bite can cause, such as rocky mountain spotted fever. Another lesser known condition: a sensitivity to mammalian meat, which can result from bite of a lone star tick.
What are lone star ticks and where do they live?
The only star knocks once Mainly lived in the southeastern United States.s., but its range now includes the entire East Coast and much of the Midwest. Iowa is on the edge of the tick range; Nebraska, Texas, and New York are partly within its bordersto me This map is CDC.
Thanks in part to climate change, ticks have increased ranges, and are more likely to survive winter when the weather is warmerwhich makes tick numbers larger every year. Ticks are also on the back, quite literally, on growing deer numbers.
Lone star ticks are great for ticks and crawls Quickly, their bites hurt. This is in contrast to the Lyme disease black-shelled ticks, which are so much smaller that you may not even notice their bite.
All ticks feed by burying their heads in your skin It sucks your blood until it fills up like a balloon. If you find a tick on you, remove it with tweezers or a file tick removal device. Don’t burn her butt with an explosive match; who – which In fact, it increases your chance of getting sick.
Lone star ticks can also be transmitted Ehrlich’s disease, tularemia, heart virus and STARI. But even more surprising to them is their ability to cause a meat allergy.
How can a tick bite cause a meat allergy?
First of all, not every star is lonely A tick bite causes an allergic reaction. It is completely normal for a tick to bite you and it does not have any lasting consequences. but between People with a so-called alpha-gal allergy, most of them have begun to experience Symptoms sShortly after she was bitten by a lone star tick.
There are other types of ticks that can cause this allergy, including ticks found in Europe and one in Australia. in the United States of America Meat allergy has so far been linked to the only star tick.
What is alpha-gal How do we feel sensitive to it?
Especially allergic to a compound called galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose, or alpha-gal for short. It’s sugar, but you won’t find it in sweet foods like fruits. It is made of animals and attachments for proteins. Red meat, which is mainly protein, contains small amounts of alpha-gal. (It’s not enough to register as sugar on the nutrition label; it’s really less microscopically.)
Almost all mammals make alpha-gal, and alpha-gal is found in their meat and milk, wWith one big exception: primates (like humans and monkeys) do not produce this substance. This means that our immune system may recognize alpha-gal as an invader.
Something about a single star tick bite (and those of Some other ticks) can stimulate our immune system to start an attack alpha-gal and mMammalian food containing alpha-gal-iIncluding beef, lamb, and venison (although it is not considered red meat) Pork – the result is an allergy to the meat itself.
The exact mechanism that causes an allergic reaction is not fully understood. one hypothesisTicks pick up alpha-gal proteins from other mammals they bite (such as mice and deer) and then pass them on to us when they bite. But there is also a possibility who – which The tick’s saliva itself is the trigger.
What does an alpha-gal allergy look like?
The hallmark of alpha-gal allergy is that you sometimes You experience allergy symptoms such as itching, swelling, and anaphylaxis (which can be fatal) three to eight hours after eating meat. You are you may encounter Gastrointestinal symptoms as well, such as diarrhea and stomach pain. Alpha-gal allergy is more common in people who spend a lot of time outdoors, such as hunters and hikers, and people often remember suffering A painful tick bite before you start to suffer symptoms.
If you think you might have an alpha-gal allergy, bring it along with your doctor, and Get a prescription for an epi-pen. Non-alpha gal allergycommon and special If you don’t live in the southeastern United States, your doctor may not consider testing it. People with alpha-gal allergy may find that they only react sometimes They eat meatbut He. She It can be severe when it occurs, and anaphylaxis can be fatal.
Alpha-gal allergy can be diagnosed with the help of a blood test that looks for IgE antibodies against alpha-gal. (skin prick tests, used for Test for other types of allergiesIt can give a false negative result. Mail-order blood tests use an entirely different type of antibody, and Not reliable.)
While mammalian meat is the most common trigger, some people do sensitive enough They need to avoid dairy products (particularly high-fat dairy, which contains more alpha-gal) and other animal products such as gelatin. Some medicinal products can also be a problem; The blood-thinning heparin and the chemotherapy drug cetuximab contain alpha-gal. (If you want to read more, this paper Contains recommendations for clinicians and for people with alpha-gal allergies.)
While allergies are considered lifeFor a long time, it can get better or worse over time. Getting another tick bite may temporarily worsen symptoms. Alcohol and exercise also seem to worsen symptoms. On the bright side, you can eat all the chicken, turkey, and fish you want.
How Could I Protect myself from lonely star tick bites?
In the same way you protect yourself from other tick bites:
- Check yourself for ticks after you’ve been outdoors. (At least, take a shower.)
- Consider coating your shoes and pants with permethrin, an insect repellent spray that lasts several washes.
- Apply a good bug spray when you’re outside, especially on your ankles and legs.
If you are bitten by a tick, remove the tick with tweezers or a tick removal device. Ask your doctor what you should do next, as this decision will depend on where you are in the country, and the diseases or risks you face. There is no way to prevent alpha-gal allergy if you have already been bitten, but there is no other way to prevent tick allergy Diseases may be possible. Always Seek medical attention if a tick bites you and then develops a fever or other symptoms.