Jeffrey Grommer — a resident on Wilmington Island — and his dog, Bluesy, don’t usually look down.
“We don’t gather many ticks on the pathway,” he said.
When WSAV told him about the Lone Star Tick, an unusual type of tick triggering allergies to red meat, he was surprised. “It’s kinda weird, right? To give you that type of problem,” he said.
Now, they’re going to pay more attention to what’s on the ground. A bite from the Lone Star Tick, another bite into a burger, and the symptoms begin six to ten hours later. The tick is based in the South, but is quickly spreading across the country.
Dr. Jack Eades, an allergist at Southern Allergy and Asthma, says the symptoms similar to one you’d experience with a common allergy: swelling of the lips, shortness of breath and wheezing.
Because of that, many don’t know the tick is to blame for their illness.
There are more than 5,000 reported cases in the United States, but just three at Southern Allergy and Asthma. Doctors still don’t know if the allergy is permanent.
“As you can imagine, with a newer disease state, we don’t have as much information about that long term prevalence,” said Dr. Eades.
For now, there’s only one cure for those affected. “The hallmark of any allergic disease is going to be the avoidance of the allergen. So in this case, the only choice you have is avoidance. You can’t desensitize this,” said Dr. Eades.
As for Jeffrey, he’s changing his mentality. “Keep my eye out. [Bluesy] is on medication, so he doesn’t get ticks or flees, but I certainly do,” he said.