Thursday, November 1, 2012

Lone Star Tick= Red Meat Allergy!?

Apparently the Lone Star Tick, upon biting a person, can leave them allergic to red meat. As with most insect bites, when the tick bites you some of its saliva enters your bloodstream.  However, this specific tick's saliva happens to carry a carbohydrate called "alpha-gal" that is also found in red meat, milk, and pet dander. When your body's immune system begins to heal the bite, it also works to get rid of the alpha-gal in your body.
Unfortunately, the next time the person eats meat, or drinks milk their body's immune system acts as if has gotten bitten again and tries to eliminate the alpha-gal being consumed. This causes an allergic reaction that can range in severity from person to person. The mildest being hives, and the most sever being anaphylactic shock. The thing is that it is a delayed reaction of 3-6 hours.
This is a pretty scary thing primarily for anyone that loves meat, such as myself.  This allergic reaction has been nick-named "the cow's revenge", because it makes involuntary vegetarians out of people.
The ticks, at the moment, have only been sighted in the south eastern part of the united states, but who knows for how long? That is why it is better to be safe than sorry. When going into the woods, or anywhere that may have high grasses always wear a bug repellant on any exposed skin (it must have DEET, as many people say).
I'm curious if there is a bug spray out there that is safe, yet comparable to DEET?