Summer is here, which means more people are outside trying to enjoy nature, albeit nature that’s filled with bugs. They’re a part of the deal, and most of the time they’re simply annoying. But other times they can pose serious threats that could impact your life forever.
Take, for instance, the tick.
Theyre so small that people often dont notice them on their bodies until its too late, at which point their bites can lead to a varietyof medical problems.
Most people know that they’re mostcommonly associated with Lyme disease, which can be debilitating. But its important to remember that they pose other threats, too.
Even if they dont kill you, the effects fromtheir bite can last a lifetime especially from one specific kind of tick that’s spreading to new locations.
That would be the Lone Star tick, also known as the Northeastern water tick, and identified by the unique spot on its back.
According to the Center for Disease Control, Lone Star ticks at all stages of life bite humans even the tick’s larvae, unlike those of all other American ticks and can be “quite aggressive.”
But what makes them so dangerous is that they carry a special kind of sugar in theirbodies called alpha-gal.Thanks to evolution, humans no longer produce this sugar, but its found in all red meat, pork, and some dairy products.
That’s where we run into a problem.
When a Lone Star tick bites a human, it injects this special alpha-gal sugar into the victims body. The human immune system naturally responds to the bite by creating antibodies to fight the foreign substance.
From that moment on, whenever that person eats any meat that contains the alpha-gal sugar, a severe allergic reaction occurs.
“The weird thing about [this reaction] is it can occur within three to 10 or 12 hours, so patients have no idea what prompted their allergic reactions,” said Dr. Ronald Saff, an allergist in Tallahassee, Florida, and an assistant clinical professor at the Florida State University College of Medicine.
The symptoms are often severe hives and shortness of breath are common, and a dangerous anaphylactic reaction is possible. But they seem to appear out of the blue, often the night after eating a burger or steak.
As a result, the Lone Star ticks victims are essentially forced into a life of semi-vegetarianism, although most can still safely eat fish and poultry.
Some people develop more sensitivity than others, and a few can tolerate small amounts of meat, but some become so allergic that they can’t even consume animal products like dairy milk.
The Lone Star tick is most common in the Southeast, but have spread up the East Coast and into the Midwest, with large numbers being reported all the way up in Maine.
Within the last year, outbreaks of alpha-gal allergy have occurred in Minnesota, New Hampshire, and on the tip of Long Island.
“We expect with warming temperatures, the tick is going to slowly make its way northward and westward and cause more problems than they’re already causing,” Saff said.
It’s nothing to become paranoid about, but make sure to be vigilant when spending any time outdoors, and always check your skin, clothes, and pets when you come in from outside.
Better safe than sorry.
Via: Boredom Therapy
Read more: http://twentytwowords.com/