Most men love their burgers and steaks, but if you want to continue eating them, you better bring tick repellent on your next camping trip. The lone star tick has been making headlines recently due to the growing number of people who have been hospitalized for the red meat allergies caused by the insect's bite.
Originally, the lone star tick was primarily found in the Southwest, including Texas (hence the name.) Now, it’s making its way up the East Coast as the deer population increases.
A compound called Alpha-Gal is released via the tick's bite; this is also the sugar found in red meat, beef, pork, and venison. When Alpha-Gal is released into a human, the body produces antibodies to fight it and in turn, builds up an intolerance to red meat in the process.
A bite from the critter can cause severe allergic reactions to red meat with symptoms ranging from facial swelling to difficulty breathing. As of now, doctors are unsure if the allergies will last, but to be safe, pack plenty of tick repellent whenever you'll be spending time in the woods. After all, a bug bite isn’t worth giving up burgers forever, is it?