Meat Allergy linked with Tick Bites

English: The tick Amblyomma americanum (Lone S...

These fall are bringing out more ticks than it was usual before in the Mid South and East Coast area.

A new study suggest a connection between the rise in creepy crawlies, and the increase in a certain allergy to beef and pork.

“Every patient I’ve had with this allergy has had a tick bite. It seems to be related to what is called the Lone star tick”. –said Dr. Tina Merrit of the Allergy Clinic of Northwest Arkansas. They are very common in Arkansas and Missouri, but cases of the freaky allergy are popping up along the East Coast too where areas also abound in Lone star ticks. 90 percent of the meat allergy patients had a history of tick bites.

“We’re in the process of collecting the very tiny amounts of liquid out of a tick mouth and learning how to analyze that. I believe there’s evidence that ticks are causing the allergies. If it’s a tick disease, it might involve fighting ticks. We’re searching for proof,” said  Doctor Jack Lay from the University of Arkansas.

Delayed allergic reaction showed up roughly three to six hours after eating red meat. Symptoms can range from hives to anaphylactic shock. Experts say the six-hour lag between exposure to meat and the allergic reaction complicates things even more. It’s very atypical because most food allergies occur very quickly.

The Lone star tick is a very small tick that can have a white dot on the back and it’s very common in the Mid South area, but is found throughout the eastern, southeastern and south-central states.

All three life stages (larva, nymph, adult) of the lone star tick will feed on humans, and may be quite aggressive. Lone star ticks will also feed readily on other animals, including dogs and cats, and may be brought into the home on pets. The saliva from lone star ticks can be irritating; redness and discomfort at a bite site does not necessarily indicate an infection.

The infection may be hard to diagnose because there’s no rash and the tick and its bite are very tiny. Lab inspection of a blood sample under a microscope is currently the only way to confirm infection.

Tick-borne illness may be prevented :

–         by avoiding tick habitat  Avoid tick habitat like wooded and bushy areas with high grass and  leaf litter. Walk in the center of trails.

–         by using insect repellents containing DEET or permethrin, Use insect repellents that contain 20% or more DEET for protection that lasts up  to several hours. Always follow product instructions. Parents should apply this product to their children, avoiding hands, eyes, and mouth. Use products that contain permethrin on clothing. Treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks and tents. It remains protective through several washings. Pre-treated clothing is available and remains protective for up to 70 washings.

–         by wearing long pants and socks,

–         by performing tick checks and promptly removing ticks after outdoor activity. Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors (preferably within two hours) to wash off and more easily find ticks that are crawling on you.

–         Conduct a full-body tick check using a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body upon return from tick-infested areas. Parents should check their children for ticks under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, between the legs, around the waist, and especially in their hair.

–         Examine gear and pets. Ticks can ride into the home on clothing and pets, then attach to a person later, so carefully examine pets, coats, and day packs. Tumble clothes in a dryer on high heat for an hour to kill remaining ticks.

Be extra vigilant in warmer months (April-September) when ticks are most active.

Sources:

http://nwahomepage.com/fulltext?nxd_id=367332
http://www.newsnet5.com/dpp/news/health/medical-lone-star-tick-makes-people-allergic-to-red-meat#ixzz271ZWCVYi

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