Can You Be Allergic to Red Meat?

There’s an old saying in journalism: if a headline is stated as a question, the answer is ‘no’.

This might be an exception.

I stumbled across this article in the New Yorker – Can Ticks Make You Allergic to Red Meat? – and figured that while the New Yorker is a perfectly cromulent publication, it isn’t where I would go for science news. So while intrigued, at first I dismissed it as bad science. There’s a lot of it (you’ll find plenty on my own blog).

The gist of the story was that when these ticks bite you, they excrete a substance found in red meat into your bloodstream that your body can develop an immune response to. This results in getting hives and even a tightening throat similar to anaphylactic shock symptoms some unfortunate people get from peanuts or bee stings.

Hoping the editors were asleep at the switch, I began to Google this. I had never heard of this and figured this must be some urban legend.

I wish.

WebMD is certainly a better place to find health information and I found it mentioned there.

I also found it mentioned on Wikipedia:

Don’t trust either of them? You can also find it here:

Being in New Jersey, I selfishly thought this might be confined to Texas – the poor bastards – being it’s called the ‘Lone Star Tick’.

I was wrong – here’s a map of where the ‘Lone Star’ tick can be found.

Lone-star-tick-map-cdcSeems to me to be a very misnamed creature.

I happened to tell this to my 8-year-old daughter and her response was: “Aauugh! That would mean I couldn’t eat bacon!”

I did mention to her that it was an allergy from ‘mammalian non-primate meat’ only, so monkey-meat bacon would be just fine.

She didn’t even grace my nonsense with an answer.

The good news is this particular tick isn’t likely to carry Lyme Disease – just a bushel-basket full of other diseases to fuck you up.

Yet another reason for us to stay inside our hermitically-sealed, climate-controlled houses as far away from nature as possible.

Want ‘nature’? Find a documentary on Netflix!


3 thoughts on “Can You Be Allergic to Red Meat?

  1. I see Binghamton,NY is in the yellow part… husband spent three months going to Wound Care (just finished up a month ago) from a “bite” of something. No one could figure it out. Doctors are calling it a spider bite. He was tested for Lymes twice and many, many other things. His lower leg kept swelling and swelling. His blood pressure got so low he almost passed out. Soooo, emergency room doc cut it out and left a huge hole. He is all fine now but since the river is right behind our house, he is concerned this could happen again. He could have got the bite from inside the house. Who knows. We do eat red meat. Very interesting articles. Thanks!

  2. Hello, LCconfindential. I just found your blog, but I am having a devil of a time navigating it! Am I missing some easy technique to find your earliest post and then moving forwards one post at a time? I scrolled down on your Home page and FOUND the earliest post, clicked to get the full text, read it, then used the directional arrow at the top of the screen to go back to the home page. I repeated this for the 5 or so posts that were visible, but I had no way to get back to the other, later posts other than to go back to Home and do the tedious scroll downwards again. Maybe it is a simple, obvious mistake, but I’m damned if I can figure it out. Love your writing style, and your content is wonderful…from what I’ve read so far, including your very honest and funny About page. Hope you can straighten out this lame-O 62 y.o.

    1. My fault entirely. This dope (Me) used to have an ‘Archives’ listing in the right-hand column but it ain’t there! Now it is. Scroll WAY down on the right-hand side and you’ll see it now.

      Thanks for pointing that out.

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