Viking Ventures

‘Lone Star’: A Tick That Makes You Allergic to Red Meat

Pictured above is the Lone Star tick. Bites from this insect can cause the person to become allergic to red meat products.

Photo Credit: Creative Commons

Pictured above is the Lone Star tick. Bites from this insect can cause the person to become allergic to red meat products.

Sarah Hunsicker, Editor-in-Chief

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Amblyomma americanum or more commonly known as the Lone Star Tick or the Seed Tick. Indigenous to the eastern part of the United States and Mexico, a bite from this tick is completely painless and can go unnoticed. However, it can make anyone that has been bitten allergic to meat.

Photo Credit: Karen Hunsicker
Shown above is Jake’s left arm before the allergist performed a skin prick test. This test is a method that attempts to provoke a small allergic reaction to help allergists make a diagnosis.

Cases of the alpha-gal allergy have increasing become more and more common, effecting close to hundreds of thousands of people each year. My brother is among those hundreds of thousand of people.

I have a set of fraternal twin brothers, Jake and Josh, that just turned fourteen back in September. Both are active Boy Scouts that go camping for an entire weekend once a month. About a year and a half ago, the two set off on one of their monthly excursions. My brothers came home that Sunday afternoon and my parents noticed that Jake had some mild hives and rashes developing on his face. My parents figured that Jake got into some Poison Ivy while he was away, they immediately gave him Benadryl and the hives cleared up.

Photo Credit: Karen Hunsicker
About fifteen minutes after the allergist performed a skin prick test this is the end result of Jake’s left arm. The allergist could conclude that he was allergic to beef and pork and suggested that he might’ve been bitten by a Lone Star Tick.

Recently back in September Jake and Josh went on a camping trip to Lums Pond State Park. Saturday night the scout cooked up some Cheese Burgers, Jake’s favorite meal. Shortly after dinner that night, my parents received a phone call from the troop leader. He told my mom that Jake was having an allergic reaction and he needed to be taken to the hospital. My mom met the Scoutmaster half way and took my brother to Beebe Medical Center. When she got to Jake his entire body from head to toe was covered in hives. His entire face was burning and was going numb, he was also having trouble swallowing.

A couple weeks later, Jake was taken to an allergist and was tested for various nuts as well as beef and pork. There was no reaction to almonds and dairy products. However when tested for beef and pork, his arm immediately broke out into hives. The allergist determined that Jake was allergic to beef, pork, venison and anything that contains any of these products. The only meat products that Jake can eat either have to fly or swim. Jake was devastated by this news because he always enjoyed a bacon cheeseburger. Since the discovery of my brother’s allergy, my family has switched to eating alternate meat products such as chicken, turkey, goose, and duck.

The Lone Star tick bite can generate an allergy to a sugar molecule in red meat which is known as alpha glucose but commonly referred to as “alpha gal”.  Symptoms of an allergic reaction can include hives, shortness of breath, and as well as the possibility of an anaphylactic reaction. Allergic reactions can happen instantly or it can develop over a period of time. The tick is known to target cats and dogs. When bitten, a person will have to alter their diet for the sake of their own health. There is no cure for the alpha gal allergy yet. However, doctors and allergists that have been working with Jake are hoping that the allergy will go away as he progressively gets older.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Sarah Hunsicker, Editor-in-Chief

Sarah Hunsicker was born in Lewes, Delaware and is the Online Editor-in-Chief for the Viking Ventures. In her spare time she enjoys dancing, traveling,...

Navigate Left
  • ‘Lone Star’: A Tick That Makes You Allergic to Red Meat

    Cape Culture

    Seniors Participate in National Decision Day

  • ‘Lone Star’: A Tick That Makes You Allergic to Red Meat

    Cape Culture

    Spanish Students Travel to Costa Rica

  • ‘Lone Star’: A Tick That Makes You Allergic to Red Meat

    A&E

    Music Department Shows The Sound of Music

  • ‘Lone Star’: A Tick That Makes You Allergic to Red Meat

    Showcase

    Firefly Music Festival to Take Place in Dover

  • ‘Lone Star’: A Tick That Makes You Allergic to Red Meat

    Cape Culture

    Sneak Peek at Prom 2018

  • ‘Lone Star’: A Tick That Makes You Allergic to Red Meat

    News

    Mrs. Aiken’s Trip to Africa

  • ‘Lone Star’: A Tick That Makes You Allergic to Red Meat

    Cape Culture

    The Ridings at Rehoboth support Prom 2018

  • ‘Lone Star’: A Tick That Makes You Allergic to Red Meat

    News

    Students Participate in Walkout Honoring Lives Lost at Parkland Shooting

  • ‘Lone Star’: A Tick That Makes You Allergic to Red Meat

    Cape Culture

    Marine Science Classes Participate in Dissection Labs

  • ‘Lone Star’: A Tick That Makes You Allergic to Red Meat

    Cape Culture

    Halfway Through the 2017-18 School Year

Navigate Right
The student news site of Cape Henlopen High School
‘Lone Star’: A Tick That Makes You Allergic to Red Meat