Tick bite has potential to cause red meat allergy

(WTNH) — A specific kind of tick bite can actually make you allergic to red meat.

The Lone Star Tick gets its name from the roughly Texas-shaped white dot on its back.

The tick was once found only in the eastern and southeastern U.S., but it has begun showing up in places like Missouri, Minnesota, and even the eastern tip of Long Island.

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The tick’s bite can trigger a life-threatening reaction to red meat. The allergic reaction is caused by a sugar in meat known as Alpha-gal.

“The symptoms are usually like any typical allergic reaction,” explained Allergist and Immunologist Dr. Kevin Boatright. “Itching, rashing, to full-fledged anaphylacis with difficulty breathing, wheezing. It’s a delayed type of reaction, so when you ingest red meat, that reaction doesn’t occur for potentially three, up to eight hours later.”

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There’s no known cure for the Alpha-gal allergy. The only course of action for those who suffer from it is cutting red meat out of their diet.

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