Lone Star Tick can make you allergic to meat, BBQ

By Lauren Freeman - Anchor

HOUSTON - One bite from a tick could have you swearing off meat. We have a warning from doctors about a tick named for Texas that is making victims allergic to meat.

In Texas we love our BBQ, so it was only appropriate to name the tick after the state known for smoked meat. After the Lone Star Tick bites you, it makes you have allergic reactions to meat.

The ticks have a sugar that humans don't have called Alpha-Gal. The sugar is also in red meats and some dairy.

Jeffrey Tucker, an urban entomologist in Houston, explains how a human becomes allergic to meat.

"It develops antibodies, a way to fight those foreign antigens, it could happen weeks or months or years later. You eat some meat, that sugar is also found in meat and your body reacts to it," said Tucker.

In other states, doctors are seeing more patients who have been bitten by this tick.

The adult female Lone Star Tick is about half the size of a dime. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports these ticks are in Texas.

People should monitor their health closely after any tick bite and should consult their physician if they experience a rash, fever, headache, joint or muscle pains or swollen lymph nodes within 30 days of a tick bite. These can be signs of a number of tick-borne diseases.

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