It's summertime! That's great, but unfortunately as the sun comes out... so do the critters!

NPR published an article telling the story of a woman, Laura Stirling, who developed a red meat allergy after being bitten by a Lone Star tick while walking her dog. She found the tick on her hip and removed it. A few weeks later, she ate Italian pork sausage for dinner and woke up in the middle of the night with hives covering her body, a lightheaded feeling, and stomachaches. An allergist gave Stirling a blood test and it came back positive for the alpha-gal allergy. That meant she had to avoid all red meat, including beef, pork and lamb!

Stirling wasn't the only one who had this reaction from a tick bite. Dr. Scott Commins, an allergist and associate professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina told NPR, "We're confident the number is over 5,000 [cases], and that's in the U.S. alone." Over 5,000 cases!? Wow. The territory of the Lone Star tick is shown below and they seem to have impacted most of Iowa.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

An allergy like alpha-gal is just one example of a tick borne illness. With all of the issues ticks can cause, it's best to be on the lookout! That's especially true if you love the outdoors. Always check for ticks and if you do find one on you and start to experience any strange symptoms, see your doctor.

Ticks may be small, but they can cause big problems. Watch out for these little buggers in your neck of the woods!

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