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Doctors warn Lone Star tick may cause red meat allergy

Doctors warn Lone Star tick may cause red meat allergy
Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images

Choosing to partake in an outdoor activity has always come with certain risks involved, but none as strange as what doctors have recently discovered. According to an article published on Friday by Fox News, doctors now believe some tick bites could lead some people to develop a dangerous allergy to red meat.

Fox news reports that there have been a large number of cases where people who have previously had no reaction after consuming red meat have had allergic reactions so severe they needed medical attention. At least one doctor has reportedly treated as many as 200 cases of this strange allergy.

It's believed that people who have been bitten by a tick called the Lone Star tick can develop an allergy because the bite triggers an immune system response to a sugar called alpha-gal that these bugs harbor. Unfortunately, that same sugar is also found in foods like red meat, which triggers an allergic response. Doctors aren't sure if this people who develop this allergy will have it for the remainder of their lives, or if the anti-bodies that cause the reaction will decrease over time.

The Lone Star tick is commonly found throughout the south and eastern half of the United States. These ticks are also commonly called seed ticks. These ticks are aggressive, and reportedly travel long distances looking for a host. The female Lone Star tick is the most recognizable because of the white “star” in the center or her back.

Looking for ways to prevent tick bites? The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends you stay away from bushy areas, areas with high grass, and areas with leaf litter. Additionally, it is recommended that your treat your clothing and gear with a repellent that contains 20 to 30 percent deet before going into an area that may have ticks.