Tick bites can cause allergic reaction to red meats - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Tick bites can cause allergic reaction to red meats

FREDERICKTOWN, MO (KFVS) -

The ticks are out and in some cases they're carrying diseases, viruses, and allergies with them. 

Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and allergies to red meats are all things that could come along with a tick bite.

One Fredericktown family knows that all too well. 

A mother and her four children have developed an allergy to mammal meat and by-products because of tick bites. She says it caused her to have multiple symptoms including severe joint pain and anaphylactic shock.

"Anaphylactic shock can kill you in minutes,” Kristin Sharrock said.

There are many symptoms that people with allergies often have.

"Stomach pains, feeling ill, hives,” Sharrock said.

Sharrock and her four children have had them all.

"All from tick bites. It's strange, very strange,” Sharrock said.

Her allergist diagnosed them with an Alpha-Gal allergy.

"We fed our children a burger one day in town and my son woke up the next morning with joint pain and by that evening he had hives on him,” Sharrock said.

Other patients with Alpha-Gal also say they experienced problems with their gallbladder and liver. However, when they cut out meat, and other foods with mammal by-products, the symptoms go away.

It's an allergy Dr. Janna Tuck says she treats all too often here in rural Missouri.

"When you get a tick bite, you have an immune response,” Dr. Tuck said.

She says though is unknown exactly how it happens, basically, the tick bite triggers the allergy to carbohydrates in red meat.

"It happens many hours after you eat versus a very short period of time and it's random, it doesn't necessarily happen every time you eat, so that makes it really hard to determine what's causing your problem,” Dr. Tuck said.

Resource Forrester Becky Fletcher say it is not only this allergy to look out for if you get a tick bite.

"Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, we have a Lyme-like disease called STARI or Master's Disease, Ehrlichiosis, so there are several diseases out there that ticks can carry,” Fletcher said.

She says watch of for ticks around shrubs and tall grass.

"If you brush past a limb or some tall grass, that's usually when you'll get ticks on you,” Fletcher said.

Fletcher, Dr. Tuck, and Sharrock agree, if you start feeling ill after a tick bite, don't ignore it.

"Ticks can do many things to you. They can give you diseases and viruses and bacteria and also an allergy now,” Sharrock said.

Fletcher suggests wearing long pants socks and shoes outside, using insect spray with DEET, keep your grass mowed, check yourself and children for ticks often, and see a doctor if you start to feel ill after a tick bite.

To read more about tick-borne diseases, click here.

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