Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Like Meat? Avoid This Tick...!

Who would have believed that the single bite of any critter could cause you to not eat red meat?
Not only that, even some of the by-products of meat could make you sick! I'm not making this stuff up, folks. This is one nasty tick, let me tell ya! Here's the article from KnowledgeNuts that tells all about it.

The Tick That Can Make You Allergic To Meat
By Nolan Moore on Sunday, September 28, 2014

Vegans and vegetarians aside, everyone loves a nice juicy steak. Unfortunately, there are close to 1,500 people in the US who can’t enjoy a T-bone due to a nasty critter known as the Lone Star tick (Amblyomma americanum). This arachnid packs a powerful bite, and for some mysterious reason, infects its human hosts with a dangerous allergy to red meat.

When was the last time you had a hamburger? Mike Abley hasn’t eaten one in over 20 years, but it isn’t because he dislikes beef or has moral qualms about eating meat. According to an article in Popular Science, Mr. Abley is one of approximately 1,500 people who are allergic to read meat . . . and it’s all thanks to an eight-legged parasite.

Known as the Lone Star tick, this bloodsucking bug lives all over the American South, and while it does hang out in Texas, this repugnant pest gets its name from the white blotch on the back of female ticks. It generally feeds on deer and turkeys, but of course, the Lone Star tick isn’t picky. In fact, it’s downright aggressive. While most young ticks are pretty laid-back, Lone Star larvae will drink human blood, which is extremely rare in the tick world. And unfortunately, a few of these creatures can turn carnivores into herbivores with a single bite.

Folks bitten by the Lone Star tick generally show symptoms three to six hours after eating beef, pork, or lamb. (Even products like marshmallows, JELL-O, and gel-cap vitamins can spark an attack thanks to gelatin, foodstuff made out of meat byproducts.) Once dinner is done, victims might break out in hives, start vomiting, and sometimes go into anaphylactic shock. And unfortunately, these allergic reactions are becoming more and more common. The Lone Star tick is working its way north, hitchhiking on deer and popping up in states like New York and Massachusetts. Even scarier, doctors aren’t 100 percent sure what’s going on.

Scientists know it has something to do with alpha-gal, a sugar that shows up in non-primate mammals like cows and sheep. Basically, it’s in every hot dog you’ve ever eaten. And if you’re bitten by the Lone Star tick, your body will produce huge amounts of Immunoglobulin E (IgE), an antibody that doesn’t get along with alpha-gal. When the two come into contact, your immune system freaks out and releases histamines, provoking some pretty deadly reactions. However, there’s still a lot researchers don’t know. Why does it take so long for symptoms to show up? Do all Lone Star ticks possess this power or just a few? And what about the tick’s bite is so dangerous? Is it the saliva, or something living in the tick’s stomach?

While scientists aren’t sure, they do know the number of alpha-gal allergies is increasing rapidly. In fact, people across the world are breaking out in rashes and suffering from abdominal cramps thanks to different kinds of ticks. In Australia, researchers have discovered similar cases thanks to the Ixodes holocyclus (a tick that usually prefers bandicoots), and other victims have been found in European countries like Spain and Sweden. Fortunately, the alpha-gal allergy will usually fade away after a few years . . . assuming you aren’t bitten by anymore ticks.

I hate the idea of having a single bite from a tick stop my eating steak or a juicy hamburger, ya know? Not to mention having to give up Jell-o and marshmallows!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Don't worry...no ticks around!


Mamahen said...

I had actually heard this before but not as much detailed info....it's crazy n scary for sure!

Sixbears said...

I hated ticks before I knew about this. Now, I detest them even more.

Coffee in town today. Taking the lovely wife out for breakfast.

linda m said...

My hubby would freak out if he could not eat a steak or beef roast. It still amazes me how we keep finding out about dangerous insects and how these insects can affect our life. Scary stuff for sure. Thanks for sharing this one with us.

Dizzy-Dick said...

My wife has been bitten by Lone Star ticks. But, since she is a vegetarian, she doesn't eat meat anyway, so... no symptoms. Of course I am not. Yesterday I enjoyed my Louisiana Boudin served with eggs.

HermitJim said...

Hey Mamahen...
Never know what Mother Nature has in store for us. Not a critter bite I want to have.

Thanks for coming over!

Hey Sixbears...
I'm not real fond of them myself!

Thanks for dropping by today!

Hey Linda M...
I reckon most men are meat eaters and would NOT like being bitten by this tick!

Thanks for coming over this morning!

Hey Dizzy...
Guess that means it's a good thing you haven't been bitten then.

Thanks for the visit this morning!

JO said...

Well my budget doesn't offer extra money for beef so I guess I'm safe there. Not a big beef eater anyway. But it's scary non the less.

Weather sure has gotten nice in the mornings for sitting on the patio

Linda said...

I am allergic to beef. It is official now after the allergy test. But, Mama said I would not let meat pass through my lips until I was about six-years-old. Then, she said I could not get enough of it.

For years, I have said, laughingly, that I thought I was allergic to beef. I don't just have diarrhea, my whole system is squeaky clean, ready for a colonoscopy. The diarrhea goes on for about eight hours. I love chicken, so it is not so bad for me to not eat meat.

When I was eight-years-old, I did have a tick attached to me right on the top of my head.