THE DANGEROUS TICK: Ticks are arachnids, members of the same class of animals as spiders. There are numerous species living within the United States, including the deer tick. They are small, eight legged parasites that nourish themselves with the blood of various hosts, people included. They are vectors of many diseases such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Ticks can be difficult to spot, so it is recommended that people wear long, light-colored pants tucked into socks when hiking, and check for ticks all over your body afterward. It is also a good idea to use insect repellant.
ABOUT THE ALLERGY: Ticks are also able to spur the development of allergies to beef, pork, and lamb. Even if people have eaten and enjoyed red meat for many years without incident, recent research showed the link between a tick bite and severe allergic reactions to these meats. The reaction starts three to six hours after consuming meat with itching that becomes progressively more severe, followed by swelling, and then airway constriction and loss of consciousness, if not treated. The reaction is believed to occur after a tick bite triggers the body to produce an antibody which remains in the blood. The antibody reacts with a molecule called alpha-gal, which causes the dangerous reactions.