Chigger Bites Linked to Meat Allergy

Common during summer, chiggers are a type of mite that can cause itchy red spots on the skin. The tiny arachnids live in forests and grassy areas. While the adults eat plants, the larvae feed on skin.

When humans walk through these areas, chiggers often attach themselves to the body and inject saliva into the skin, releasing enzymes that break down skin cells so the chiggers can digest them.

But researchers now believe this saliva contains more than just enzymes. Like that of ticks, chigger saliva might also contain galactose, a muscle carb also found in meat. When a chigger bites the skin, the body’s immune system produces antibodies to defend against the galactose in the chigger’s saliva. These antibodies can then react the same way to the galactose in meat, triggering an allergic response.

Scott Commins, an immunologist at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, said:
The notion of chiggers causing red-meat allergy makes sense. Both [chiggers and ticks] can take blood meals through the skin, which is the ideal route to create an allergic response.
A few years ago news broke that tick bites around the world had been causing an allergic reaction to certain animal products. Some sensitive immune systems react to proteins in the parasite’s saliva and become intolerant of meat and even dairy and gelatin.

Cases of such allergies have been found in parts of Asia, Europe, Africa, South America, and Central America, and they are most prevalently on the rise in Australia and the United States.

While some people are forced to give up cruel animal products because of a chigger or tick bite, millions of others are voluntarily giving them up after learning about the harsh realities animals face at factory farms. Cows, pigs, chickens, and fish raised and killed for food are subjected to unthinkable cruelties: tiny, filthy cages; horrific mutilations; and violent slaughter.

Sounds terrible, right? See for yourself.

Don’t wait until chiggers or ticks force you to leave animal products behind. Make the compassionate choice today. Order your FREE Vegetarian Starter Guide to learn how. And check out our Pinterest page for thousands of recipe ideas.