Metro Woman Develops Meat Allergy After Tick Bite
OKLAHOMA CITY - As we get closer to the height of tick season, there’s a warning to pass along to Oklahomans. Doctors say a meat allergy caused by a tick bite is becoming more common.
Madison Berryhill spends a lot of time outdoors.
“We go camping a lot and you get a tick bite and you pick it off and go,” she said.
So, she doesn't really know when she encountered the offender. But in the past year, she started noticing she was allergic to something.
“Your hands and feet start itching and turning red and breaking out in hives,” said Berryhill.
Then one night she decided to cook a steak.
“Later that night, I started breaking out in hives and ended up at the ER. None of us could figure out what the heck is going on.”
So, she finally went to an allergist.
“The first thing he said was, ‘Have you gotten bitten by a tick?’ I was like that’s a weird question.”
But it turns out the tick caused a meat allergy. Doctors say the allergy, sometimes called Alpha-Gal syndrome, is caused by the lone star tick which is common in Oklahoma.
“The allergy can send you to the emergency room if it gets bad enough. Some people even have to carry Benadryl with them just in case. It’s typically not the type of allergy that would close off the throat, but it’s enough to scare you and make you miserable,” said Dr. Lacy Anderson, MD.
It's made Madison pretty miserable. For now, she's avoiding red meat and her doctor says she'll have to carry an epi-pen just in case.
Doctor Anderson said she recommends using bug spray whenever you are outside. And spraying it on not only your skin but also your clothes to help keep ticks away.