A tick that's common to the southern part of the country is making an appearance in Maine, and could cause allergic reactions to red meat.

It's called the Lone Star Tick and has just recently started showing up more frequently in the Pine Tree State. The insect that's normally found in the southwest is being brought in by migrating songbirds. They tend to be rounder in shape than the ticks we're used to in Maine, and either a reddish brown or tan color. The females have a white spot on their backs, while adult males have a light-colored pattern along their outer edges.

The tick's bite is said to be painful. And, although it doesn't deliver an infectious disease, it can cause an allergy to red meat called Alpha-Gal. The allergy could cause some minor discomfort after eating red meat, according to healthline.com, or can trigger more severe issues. Symptoms can include runny nose or congestion, diarrhea, nausea, sneezing, hives, or asthma. In extreme cases, it can cause anaphalaxis, which is a severe reaction that can shut down your body's ability to breathe. Experts aren't sure how long the allergy will last, but say they don't think it's chronic. The allergy can recur, however, with more tick bites.

More information about this and other ticks can be found on the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Tick Lab's website. And residents can have ticks identified for free by sending them to the lab in Orono.

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