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A bite from an insect called the Lone Star tick may be the cause of red meat allergies for some individuals.
According to WTHR, the tiny ticks share the sugar alpha-gal with red meat products. The sugar is not found in humans and when the bug bites a person it transfers the alpha-gal into the bloodstream. Therefore, if you been bitten by the tick and eat red meat, you could have a terrible reaction even if you have been eating red meat your whole life with no problems.
TODAY noted that the reaction could be severe and has landed some people in the hospital.
“Classically three to six hours after eating red meat [a person with the allergy] can get hives, swelling and problems breathing,” said Dr. Robert Valet, an assistant professor of allergy and immunology at Vanderbilt University. “They may even have a full anaphylactic reaction in which their airways close.”
More bad news is that the Lone Star tick, once thought only to be in the southeastern and south central states, has been making its way up to the populated east coast.
These ticks can also spread serious infections including ehrlichiosis and the potentially fatal tularemia.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reminds everyone that when outdoors be sure to use insect repellent and avoid tick habitat such as dense woods and brushy areas.