I saw the latest tick horror headlines and wanted them to be overblown. I said silent prayers that this was 'fake news', as I researched the Lone star tick. I'm disappointed to say there's growing awareness of yet another, very real, tick-borne problem to face.

NJ tick causes meat & dairy allergies with one bite Lone star ticks
The NJ tick that causes meat & dairy allergies with one bite (CDC)

A bite from a Lone star tick can be the on-set of a red-meat and dairy allergy. It has to do with the sugar compound, alpha-galactose, or alpha-gal for short. It concerns 'mammalian' meat, so beef, pork and venison are included. If affected, there's no other treatment than cutting them out of your diet. Of course, as with other allergies, sensitivity ranges from patient to patient.

NJ Lone star tick meat allergy
The NJ tick that causes meat & dairy allergies with one bite (CDC)

And yes, these ticks are prevalent in Jersey. Sure, they're named for Texas,but they've spread across the northeast, as far as Maine.

As if Lyme disease (from Blacklegged ticks), southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI), Borrelia miyamotoi and the rare Powassan virus weren't enough! Now we have a little monster lurking in our yards, that could resign us to years of turkey bacon. Oh, the humanity.

So, the only way to try and fend off these little suckers (literally!) is the usual routine of using repellent (something with DEET or Picaridin is most effective) and surveillance, after any time outdoors.

I know we already have a New Jersey state bird, but it's time for the eastern goldfinch to take a backseat to a more timely species

Let's adopt guinea fowls to represent and populate the Garden State. They eat ticks. True, they're also loud and can be pushy to show dominance. They'd fit right in!

Proud Jersey Girl Erin Vogt’s first reporting gig involved her Fisher Price tape recorder. As a wife and momma of two kiddies, she firmly believes that life’s too short to drink bad coffee.  A fan of the beach, Dave Grohl and karma, in no particular order.

Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook as ProudJersey.

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