Up to ten million Americans could have an allergy to red meat triggered by the saliva from a tick bite and not know they have the condition.
Public health expert from the University of Minnesota explained to the Daily Mail that saliva from the bite of a tick which live in wooded or grassy areas across Eastern USA can lead to the severe meat allergy because molecules in the creature’s saliva are very similar to the molecules found in red meat.
As the body’s immune system fights the bacteria injected by the tick, Alpha-gal syndrome will cause the body to mistakenly attack red meat molecules even after the tick has gone, resulting in the allergy.
Those who develop the syndrome may experience a range of uncomfortable symptoms up to 12 hours after consuming red meat. They may experience hives or skin rashes, severe stomach pains, swelling of the lips, face and tongue, headaches and in more severe cases, anaphylactic shock which causes the throat and airways to close and can be fatal.
What’s even worse is the condition is incurable and usually lasts a lifetime, with treatment focussing on the individual avoiding being bitten again in the future and managing symptoms.
The CDC recommends that people avoid grassy, bushy or wooded areas where the Lone Star tick lurks in high-density clusters. If an individual does pass through a high-risk environment, the CDC recommends they shower and then perform a self-tick-check for any bites. Read more