Tick that can make you allergic to meat may be spreading

By: Katie Walls

Updated:

ATLANTA - Ticks like humidity. A saturated June will lead to a steamy July, a utopia for ticks in North Georgia.

You know that a tick bite can make you sick, but did you know that they can also make you allergic to pork and beef?

A bite from the lone star tick, specifically, could lead to a permanent allergy to mammal meat.


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Severe Weather Team 2 Meteorologist Katie Walls spoke to Dr. Stanley Fineman with Atlanta Allergy and Asthma. He's been practicing medicine for 40 years and says this relatively new discovery called Alpha-Gal, is a phenomenon.

Typically with a food allergy people have a reaction within 20 minutes, swelling of the hands and face or even trouble breathing. With this allergy, those symptoms are delayed by hours.

"Most patients, we don't see them having the Alpha-Gal sensitivity to the meat for several months," he said.

Ultimately, a diagnosis can be made with a blood test at an allergist's office.

"Fortunately we see very few patients with this, not nearly as many as we see with milk, peanut, or egg," Dr. Fineman said.

Dr. Fineman tells Walls the meat allergy is more common in adults than children.

According to Dr. Fineman, the best way to prevent tick bites is to wear long sleeves and long pants outdoors. Light colored clothing is also suggested so you can see ticks crawling more easily.

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