Tick Bites and Red Meat Allergy

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When one considers allergies nuts or dairy allergies first spring to mind & reactions to these are caused by proteins in these substances. However allergies can now extend to eating red meat. Surprisingly red meat allergy can be caused by ticks which are more prevalent in the summer as many are enjoying the outdoors & countryside. This correlation was first noted in 2009 in Texas where the eating of red meat is very popular. The Texen Loan Star tick was the culprit.

The allergy to red meat is due to a carbohydrate which is injected into the bloodstream by the bite which is also present in meat. The first bite primes the immune system & the next time a bite is received an allergic reaction can take place eg when eating a steak an outbreak of hives can occur or even an anaphylactic shock episode. Always seek help from a medical professional. The allergic reaction can often increase with frequency & severity. Unlike other food allergies this can happen to people who have never previously been allergenic & can be delayed 4-8 hours after eating red meat.

Simple ways to prevent tick bites include avoiding bushy and woodland areas with high grass & instead walking in the centre path of trails. Ramblers, fishermen & campers should take particular care as should anyone swimming in rivers. Always shower upon returning home or to your holiday accommodation & ideally carry out a full body inspection. If any ticks are found remove then as soon as possible with a pair of tweezers by gently gripping as close as you can to the skin & pull off with a sharp twist. Be aware that these insects can also cause a bacteriological infection known as Lyme’s Disease. Enjoy the sunshine & outdoor but do have a safe summer !


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