LONE STAR TICK BITES HAVE MADE HALF A MILLION AMERICANS ALLERGIC TO RED MEAT
So you certainly already know that ticks are an increasing risk of a variety of diseases if you live in the United States, even if you live in a desert locale. The majority of Americans have walked by signs warning of Lyme disease from ticks as they enter state parks, or simply walk thru a green college campus. And many of us have Lyme disease, though not all of us know it yet. But a newer tick delivered disease is called alpha-gal syndrome, and if you get it, it means you’ll have an allergy to red meat. And no, it’s not a joke. I’ve heard of it, though I’m pretty disturbed to learn that almost half a million Americans have gotten this disease since 2010.
RED MEAT ALLERGY CAUSED BY HYPER SENSITIVITY TO ALPHA-GAL SUGARS, FOUND IN OTHER MAMMALS
So what is alpha-gal? It’s a sugar you can find in the muscles of most mammals, though humans are a notable exception. This is one major reason why humans can’t use transplanted organs from other mammals, as our systems have a massive immune response to alpha-gal (though we are now using gene-editing to create pigs without it). Normally, though, we can tolerate alpha-gal in the meats that we eat as we digest it. But if you are bitten by a Lone Star tick, it can make your system so sensitive to it that you are then…. allergic to any meat that contains it. Instant pescatarianism, if not vegetarianism.
ALPHA-GAL RED MEAT ALLERGY IS SO NEW, ALMOST HALF OF AMERICANS DOCTORS NEVER HEARD OF IT
We’ve only known about red meat allergies from tick bites for about 20 years. So we still don’t know much about it, except that more and more people are getting the disease. But here’s the even worse news: the numbers of people in America with this new, red meat allergy are likely a LOT higher. The CDC just published a study that found that 42% of all medical professionals haven’t even heard of this red meat allergy from Lone Star tick bites yet. So nearly half of all doctors can’t even identify it. And, lastly, with the global warming these days, you can expect the Lone Star tick to expand its territory to even more states. And more people to bite. Have a good look at that map in the picture above….
Time to explore relatively safe Deet products. Eh?