We all know that ticks, those little insects that latch onto you and try to drink your blood, much like a tiny, annoying vampire. You also are probably aware that ticks carry Lyme disease, which can cause severe headaches, intense muscle stiffness, arthritis and joint swelling, random pains, irregular heartbeat, dizziness, nerve pain, and more. Lyme disease isn’t a joke.
Lyme disease isn’t the only thing you have to worry about when you’re checking yourself for ticks this summer. The Lone Star Tick is out there, and it has a crazy side effect that will change your eating habits forever.
Allergy Develops from Bite
Scientists have no idea why a bite from the Lone Star Tick can do this to you, but more and more cases are popping up. If you’ve been bitten by the Lone Star Tick, you have a chance to develop an allergy to red meat. Yes, all red meat – beef, pork, and lamb usually.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve eaten red meat your entire life, or if burgers are your favorite summer food. There is something within that tick that transmits to you, causing your body to have an allergy to alpha-gal, which is found in red meat.
Not everyone who is bitten by the Lone Star Tick experiences this, which makes scientists even more puzzled, and often times it is even misdiagnosed as simply a late-life allergy. Those that suffer need to carry an Epi-Pen because the allergic reaction is often intense. Minor hives or an inconvenience isn’t the case, but more like swelling in the throat and potential death.
2019 a Bad Summer for Ticks
2019 isn’t looking good for outdoor lovers, as ticks are expected to be a real problem this year. A mild winter in many places, coupled with a lot of grassy, leafy grounds, is the perfect breeding ground for ticks.
Ticks are most commonly found to the eastern half of the US, and then some spots in California. If you live east of Colorado, keep an eye out on yourself when you go outside! Ticks are small, you often can’t feel them on you, and once they latch they can be dangerous.
How to Protect Yourself
Going outside this summer? Make sure you are protected!
No matter the heat, you should seriously consider wearing either long pants or high socks if you’re going walking or hiking through high brush. Ticks like to live in bushes and tall grass, waiting for the next unsuspecting person to walk through.
If you’re going on a day hike or spending the afternoon outside, use a tick repellent that contains DEET. Make sure you’re using it as recommended because it can become dangerous if you’re not.
Spending a weekend or long week camping? Treat your clothes with permethrin, which is a chemical that repels ticks. You can do this yourself, but it’s expensive and dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing – consider sending your things away instead! There are many companies that will soak, treat, and wash your tents and hiking clothes, and then send the finished product back to you. The permethrin binds to the fabric and kills the ticks before they can latch onto your skin.