MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s peak tick feeding season in Minnesota, and now there’s one more health concern to worry about: the Lone Star tick.
The creature is smaller than a deer tick with a round, white spot on its back. Bites from the Lone Star tick can also cause people to develop an allergy to eating red meat.
David Neitzel, who studies diseases transmitted by mosquitoes and ticks for the Minnesota Department of Health, says that the Lone Star tick has been gradually moving into Minnesota from the south.
“Over the years, we have several dozen records of Lone Star ticks from Minnesota, different parts of the state,” he said. “They’re extremely hard to come by though, and most of those records have just occurred in the last five to 10 years.”
Although rare, the tick’s bite could leave you with a long lasting problem: an allergy to red meat.
The best defense against the Lone Star tick is to wear repellents containing DEET and to always check your body after spending time in the woods.
“Check your body very closely and promptly remove ticks,” Neitzel said. “The quicker you get ticks off of you, the less chance there is of disease transmission.”
Some of the symptoms of being bitten by a Lone Star tick include stomach cramps and an itchy rash.