Meet the Lone Star Tick, a Bug That Can Make You Allergic to Red Meat

Categories: Wake Up Call

Wikimedia Commons
Amblyomma americanum (Lone Star tick)
As if Lyme disease and the knowledge that a bug can attach itself to your skin and suck the life-giving blood right out of you aren't good enough reasons to avoid forests and (let's be honest) the outdoors in general, scientists are now saying that a bite from this particular bug can prevent you from ever enjoying a steak again.

The only thing worse might be if a bug could make you allergic to alcohol or sushi, but we don't even want to imagine that scenario.

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Wikimedia Commons
Map of the range of the Lone Star Tick (Amblyomma americanum). Red indicates where the species is normally found; Blue indicates other locations where the species has been reported.
Unlike most allergies, which manifest not long after a person ingests something he or she is allergic to, the red meat allergy caused by this tick usually sets in three to six hours after eating, according to the Wall Street Journal. Symptoms include vomiting and abdominal cramps, hives, and anaphylaxis, which can cause breathing difficulties and sometimes, death. So we're not even talking about a manageable allergy. This is life and death, people.

The good news is this demon bug resides for the most part in the southern parts of the United States.

The bad news is: They're coming for us all.

Scientists are saying that the ticks are creeping their way north. They have recently been spotted in fairly large numbers quite far north in Wisconsin, leading scientists to believe they are close to being established (if not established already) in that area.

What's more, these suckers are aggressive and will crawl after you if you try to move away. You'll know you've come upon one by the single white marking on its back -- and we're going to recommend you run. Run away as fast as you can.

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Terry Nystuen
Terry Nystuen

I wish there was a tick that made you allergic to junk food. :)

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