Summertime and burgers on the grill go hand in hand–unless you've been bitten by the Lone Star tick. It can give victims an allergic reaction to red meat. The allergy, whose nickname is "Alpha-Gal," may recede over time, but there is currently no cure or vaccine.
As in many areas of the country, Oak Park is seeing an uptick in the kinds and numbers of ticks and related diseases–Illinois has 15 different species. The Lone Star tick is one of the few that is likely to be encountered by people, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
At my Oak Park practice, travel medicine and travel risk management are always on the agenda. If you plan to go abroad -- or even to plenty of places in the U.S. -- a comprehensive, unhurried conversation with your doctor is definitely called for.
A pretravel consultation includes prevention of infections, prescribed medications to bring in case of emergency, and coping with hazardous terrain, for starters.Read More
The Zika story will take a while to unfold in the Chicago area, but you should be aware of a couple of important things now.
One is that the hazards are only for particular individuals and circumstances. No epidemic looms here. But for those who could be affected, it's a serious concern. 1.3 million travelers from Zika-affected countries debarked in Chicago during the most recently tallied year.Read More