HARPSWELL, Maine (WPRI) – Lone Star ticks are typically found in southern states, but one woman from New England is saying she was bitten by one.
Patty O’Brien Carrier says she was gardening when she was bitten by a lone star tick. She says she takes precautions while gardening, including long sleeves and socks. After she was bitten, O’Brien Carrier says she became allergic to red meat.
The CDC describes these ticks as very aggressive towards humans and known to cause an allergy to red meat. The Alpha-gal meat allergy from a lone star tick bite can cause people to break out in hives after eating beef, pork, lamb, and often dairy products. The symptoms of the bite can range from stomach distress to anaphalactic shock.
The bite has meant a big lifestyle and diet change for O’Brein Carrier and she’s speaking out to warn others about the dangers of these ticks.
“So it’s an aggressive tick and it wants you,” she said. “I pulled it off of me and thought uh. And it felt kind of hard, like it had deposited something into my skin, which in fact it had.”
The same tick can also carry Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Experts are recommending wearing insect repellent when outside, checking clothing and pets for ticks daily, and showering soon after being outside.