In short, yes, a tick bite can make you allergic to red meat. This sounds like fantasy, but it is true, and the tick responsible for this occurrence is becoming more prevalent in Minnesota.
While still a rare creature to stumble upon in Minnesota, the Lone Star tick is here and is the cause of this strange red-meat allergy phenomenon.
How Can a Tick Bite Cause an Allergy to Red Meat?
First, let us tell you, this is still a rare occurrence. But we couldn’t let it go untold because it is so strange. The National Geographic reports the science behind the event:
The Lone Star tick first feeds on a cow or other mammal. That is when it picks up a sugar molecule called Alpha-Gal. Then, when that same tick later bites you, it activates your allergy immune system. From then on out, your body treats red meat (which contains Alpha-Gal) as an enemy it needs to fight. So when you eat red meat, your body triggers antibodies against it, which leads to the allergic reactions.
This allergic reaction has a slight delay, as the red meat has to make it to your gastrointestinal tract before the immune response is triggered. This delay makes it difficult for many to figure out what is causing their allergic reactions that can include hives, shortness of breath, vomiting, and diarrhea
Red Meat Allergy Treatment
Allergic reactions are dangerous and sometimes lead to hospital visits. There is no cure for the allergy, only treatment for the reactions that occur from it. Additional exposure to Lone Star tick bites carrying the Alpha-Gal molecule can actually worsen the allergy, making reactions more severe.
Climate change is allowing Lone Star ticks to expand their population in numbers and geographical reach. This has allowed the number of red meat allergies caused by tick bite to go up. While the CDC is not tracking “Alpha-Gal Syndrome” cases, the number of patients with Alpha-Gal Syndrome at Vanderbilt University has gone from around 50 or so five years ago to around 200 today.
While we try to stay on top of all tick-borne and mosquito-borne disease developments, we encourage you to avoid tick bites to lower your risks for all of them. We offer the most effective tick control treatment for your Minneapolis home or property. Call today to get started.