Texas, Here Is Another Really Important Reason To Keep Ticks Under Control This Year
Welcome to tick season Texas.
Not only are ticks incredibly disgusting, we all know that they can and frequently do carry dangerous and potentially deadly diseases like Lyme, ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis, and several others.
A few years back, my ex's dog got a tick-borne illness in Colorado that made it nearly impossible for her blood to clot. I had to hold her nose closed as she bled all over me until we could get her to the vet. Luckily, she survived with emergency vet intervention. It was a pretty harrowing experience and another reason I despise these things.
Some folks will tell you tick-borne diseases are unlikely in Texas, but here's the thing: Texas is incredibly biologically diverse, and, "if the perception is that Texas is not endemic, we miss numerous counties where individuals have reported tick bites." In other words, you're area may be prime for ticks, or an area you travel to may be.
Not afraid yet? This might put the fear in you: researchers have discovered that tick bites can also lead to a red meat allergy. Are you spraying your yard yet?
According to NPR, "there's another emerging risk linked to tick bites known as alpha-gal syndrome, which causes a red meat allergy." The allergy can cause hives and even anaphylaxis, which is a severe and potentially deadly allergic response. And the tick most responsible? The Lone Star tick. Not named for Texas, but rather a white spot on its back. It does live across most of Texas, though, according to this map from the CDC:
Scientists made this correlation about a decade ago, but have recently discovered that this allergy can also cause long-term GI issues in some people who otherwise don't know they've developed this allergy, "patients feel sick to their stomachs after they eat red meat, but never develop more typical allergic symptoms, such as a rash, swelling or trouble breathing." The cure? An elimination diet. That's right, no more red meat.
Incidents of alpha-gal syndrome have been reported in Texas, and there is some indication that other species of ticks may have started spreading it as well. If you have ticks anywhere on your property, please, think of the steaks you'll miss (if nothing else), and treat your animals and grounds for ticks.
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