Uh-Oh: A Tick Bite Can Make You Allergic To Red Meat

August 11, 2014


In what's sure to become the latest dieting craze, scientists have discovered that the bite from a Lone Star tick can actually make a person allergic to red meat. Dammit, why can't it make me allergic to salad? Then I could eat everything else on my plate and my mom would still let me have dessert.

Here's how it happens: The bugs harbor a sugar that humans don't have, called alpha-gal. The sugar is also is found in red meat - beef, pork, venison, rabbit - and even some dairy products. It's usually fine when people encounter it through food that gets digested.

But a tick bite triggers an immune system response, and in that high-alert state, the body perceives the sugar the tick transmitted to the victim's bloodstream and skin as a foreign substance, and makes antibodies to it. That sets the stage for an allergic reaction the next time the person eats red meat and encounters the sugar.

Pretty crazy. Is there a such thing as tick repellant? Because I don't want to take any chances getting bitten then not being able to eat McDonald's cheeseburgers. I'm kidding, there's not actually any meat in McDonald's cheeseburgers. I heard they're all clay. "Pfft, who told you that?" The Burger King king.

Thanks to SC, who once got bit by a mosquito and couldn't drink fruit punch for a month.

  • westmclarenmerc

    I can't believe nobody has said it yet.


  • Elak Swindell

    This might be so, but I've been bite several times in the past as a kid and I'm not allergic to red meat. I guess this situation depends on the person's metabolism.

  • Lina

    Never been bitten by a tick but allergic to all red meat since a few years.

  • asdfadfs

    maybe you just didn't notice before it fell off?

  • a serum made of this tick would be a sure thing to kill vampires

  • adffdas

    My bro started hanging out in the woods alot, hiking and shit. one day
    he becomes vegetarian and claims red meat actually makes him feel
    sick....you don't think?.. it was a parasite all along!

    is there a cure?

  • he has to find a tick then bite it

  • the antagonist

    Please tell me where this tick is found, so I can never, ever go there.

  • Ollie Williams

    In the amount of time it took you to write your comment, you could have done a Google search and found the answer, which is that the population of Lone Star ticks are widespread from Texas to the east coast and as far North as Maine.

  • zin

    Sounds like these ticks are nature's way of saying STOP EATING ME
    That & a conspiracy to fight obesity & unhealthy diets.

  • disqus_k2QxOV9H7Z

    Capsaicin is nature's way of saying STOP EATING ME! Too bad that humans have masochist culinary tendencies.

  • the antagonist

    Oh, Ollie! You're just a barrel of laughs, aren't you?

  • Ollie Williams

    No, I am not. I also do not grasp the concept of sarcasm.

  • i once had one of these suckers right on my balls

  • MustacheHam

    I hope PETA doesn't see this. :|

  • disqus_k2QxOV9H7Z

    What if THEY created it?

  • or GW will get chased by naked supermodels?

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