University of Virginia researchers identified a link between Lone Star Tick bites and a rare allergic reaction to meat. The Wall Street Journal, Pediatrics, and U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) publications reported the findings. Australian studies also linked meat allergies to other species’ tick bites. Sweden, Spain, and France reported similar cases linked to bites, and dogs have developed the allergy, too.
Called alpha-gal after a carbohydrate in meat, the allergy illness occurs weeks or months after the bite. The allergy illness suddenly hits 4 to 6 hours after eating meat. Some people even reacted to animal-based gelatins in marshmallows and gel-cap vitamins.
Since 2008, more than 1,500 people have had the sudden meat allergy reaction combined with positive antibody tests for alpha-gal antibodies. These cases include 45 children, and nearly half those required ER treatment. Doctors recommend parents have children tested by an allergist if there is a skin reaction after a tick bite.
The allergy reaction includes hives or rash, vomiting, stomach cramps, and breathing difficulties. Severe anaphylactic reactions can be fatal. The meat allergy response disappears over several months. New tick bites cause the allergic reaction to return quickly and dangerously.
Prevention is key to avoiding bites and subsequent meat allergies. The Lone Star tick lives from the East Coast through the Midwestern US. Ticks are most common in the summer. They can go a year between meals if necessary. Tick bite prevention is the key to avoiding serious illness or potentially death from this odd ailment.
People and pets meet ticks during normal outside activities quite frequently during the summertime. The CDC recommends using insect repellent on the skin and clothes combined with professional chemical treatments inside and outside the home. This will kill ticks in all their life stages. Professionals safely and quickly rid homes and yards of the bloodsuckers.
Pest control experts recommend two outside applications yearly combined with indoor treatments. Get one outside application in the spring when nymphs feed, and the second in late summer when the larvae feed. This schedule combined with interior measures is essential for tick bite prevention all year.
Talk to the St. Louis pest control professionals at Bugs By Brian today about tick control in St. Louis and surrounding areas to get started on a prevention program before the intense tick season hits St. Louis. Contact us here, or our phone number is (636) 394-0101.