Tick becoming more common in KC could cause you to become allergic to bbq

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Before you head outside this summer, you may want to spay a little bug spray because a tick that can cause you to become allergic to meat is becoming more common in the metro.

It's called the Lone Star tick.

They call it that because the female has a single white dot on its red back.

Due to the mild winters we’ve had here, experts say the Lone Star Ticks population is quickly growing throughout the metro and beyond.

Whenever this particular tick bites a deer or a cow, it takes in a type of sugar known as alpha-gal.

Humans don’t have this sugar in our bodies so when it bites us, it transfers the alpha-gal carbohydrate into our blood. That causes us to become allergic to beef, pork, venison and milk.

But you don’t see it right away. A person bit by the Lone Star tick won’t show symptoms of a meat allergy until weeks later, and then they don’t see allergy symptoms such as hives or swelling until hours after they’ve eaten meat.

That delay makes it hard to diagnose.

It can also be deadly, causing some victims to go into anaphylactic shock.

This tick-related allergy is so new, there’s not a lot of information out there on it, but some doctors do believe this allergy will fade over time.

Since ticks carry all kinds of diseases, doctors say the best way to avoid getting bit is by using bug spray with 20-percent DEET, or spraying your clothes with permethrin to keep ticks away.

Experts say just be aware this is out there.

If you’ve been bitten by a tick and months later start feeling sick after eating meat or drinking milk, see an allergist for treatment.