Ticks in the summer

Move Over Sunburn, Ticks Should Be One Of Your Biggest Concerns During The Summer

Ticks not only bite and creep us out, they can also cause serious illness even in the food we eat.

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Summer is right around the corner. Now is the time we will start mowing our yards every week, taking kids on camping adventures, and walking the dog for exercise after being cooped up in the house all winter.

Along with all of the fun summer activities we enjoy so much, there is bound to be at least one or two "scuffles" with wildlife creatures. Bee stings, ant hills, and ticks are challenges thousands of people in the U.S. have to face, but for the southern region, we also have to be aware that many of these annoying critters can be life-threatening.

Lyme disease, poster child for tick-related illness with its bullseye rash and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, the deadliest tick-related illness, both cause high fevers, headache, overwhelming fatigue and in the worst case, death. Difficult to diagnose, Most people never know they were bitten by a tick. Thousands of people will leave the hospital after being treated for an allergic reaction never knowing what caused it in the first place.

As time goes on, some unfortunate souls will be plagued with the residual effect of these "unknown origin" tick-borne diseases. Once energic, happy and active people must learn to lead a life of musculoskeletal pain, fatigue and neurocognitive issues including depression. Not all patients who are prescribed a cocktail of antibiotics and other weird pills recover quickly, if at all. The medical community is now defining these symptoms such as this as Post Lyme Borreliosis Syndrome (PLBS).

In 2014, doctors and hospitals were beginning to see a surge in allergic reactions seen in tick-borne illness along with more aggressive symptoms: difficulty breathing, high fever, and even death. gen that many people may not even be aware of.

As much as I think I may know about tick-borne illnesses and how they are spread and treated, there is a lot more to learn. After hearing about Lone Star ticks being able to transmit viruses similar to those above when people eat meat, it caught my eye.


Please bear with me here. I am learning as I am going with subjects such as this. Humans currently do not produce a sugar called "alpha-gal", and while many of us have eating meat our entire lives, the concerns about "alpha gal" and other weird names has never been seen as a threat. Now, a terrifying creature (tick with a fancy name, "Ambiloumma Americanum" or "Long star tick" is on a mission to target meat eaters.


"Ambiloumma Americanum" or "Long star tick

With the tick-related allergic reaction, it is not an immediate response. When "alpha-gal" enters your body, you begin to produce antibodies to fight against this sugar that is new and not welcome. It is the next time you eat a piece of red meat that your immune system pulls an "all hands on deck" and battle the "alpha-gal" that was there but kind of hiding in the shadows waiting for the signal to attack.

Introducing red meat is that signal and soon the person is in the middle of an allergic reaction with similar to other food-related ones. When a tick bites, their saliva hijacks the human immune system's and triggers a massive release of histamines. Sometimes, people who eat red meat will develop sensitive immune systems, and the person's body produces antibodies to fight the sugar.

Most people that eat meat are unaware of the dangers that could cause them long-lasting pain and suffering. Unfortunately, the unknowing person that eats more red meat finds themselves promoting their body as a battleground. The saliva from one tick can cause our body's systems to see eating red meat as an attack and release a massive attack in the form of histamine. hosting a battleground in their body.

Bottom line, ticks such as the lone star are causing humans to become ticking time bombs as we are becoming more sensitive to meats from beef, pork, buffalo, deer, and rabbit, etc.) as our immune systems see these as threats to our well-being, more and more triggers massive histamine will be the only solution our body has to try and keep up alive and health.

This is not a disease relegated to areas where there are unclean living conditions, small third world villages or those that are irresponsible with their animals and how they can easily bring fleas and ticks into the home if not treated properly. This is about the "circle of life" and how the animals we are eating

Waling through the woods, a tick that bites you (with or without you knowing) may have a snack of cow or mammal blood earlier that day. It is this bite, from a tick carrying the Alpha-Gal, that bites you and activates your allergy response system.


Not everyone who has been bitten by a lone star tick will develop this allergic reaction it is possible that the symptoms can remain dormant for months or years. In the meantime, remember to be vigilant when you and your family will be outside enjoying the beautiful weather with a few simple "anit-tick" rules: Wear long sleeves and pants, tucks your shirts and socks in, use buy repellent, and avoid areas known for high concentrations of ticks.

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.
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You won't see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won't laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won't go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They'll miss you. They'll cry.

You won't fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won't get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won't be there to wipe away your mother's tears when she finds out that you're gone.

You won't be able to hug the ones that love you while they're waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won't be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won't find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won't celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won't turn another year older.

You will never see the places you've always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You'll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges, and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it's not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don't let today be the end.

You don't have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It's not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I'm sure you're no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won't do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you'll be fine." Because when they aren't, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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Better Not Bitter

"Let your past make you better, not bitter."

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After completing my junior year at Iowa State, I have found myself reflecting on a lot of the experiences and people who have helped me get to the point I am at today. Family obviously comes to mind, followed by my friends, my sorority sisters, my boyfriend, my professors, and my mentors. I am able to contribute a lot of my success to their support and compassion that they have shown me throughout my past three years. I am also able to contribute my success to the woman I have grown to be and to the woman I have always wanted to be. You see, three years ago, the woman I was was buried in a toxic relationship that didn't allow me to flourish into the woman I was striving to be.

Let me take a step back, this article is not meant to bash the person who it is about. In fact, it's more of a thank you. Because you see, without him letting go of me, I would have never taken the leaps and bounds out of my comfort zone to become the woman I am so damn proud to be today. This is also not meant to say that I am I glad I was in such a toxic relationship, it was honestly so terrible that I wouldn't wish it upon anyone but I am in fact, thankful. I learned more from that relationship that I have in anything else in my life.

First, I learned to be a fighter, and not in a bad way. I learned to stand up for myself and what I believe in. I have become vocal about my passions and stand up for people when they are treated wrong. I no longer let people walk all over me, but rather I stand my ground firmly and confidently. Thank you.

Second, I learned to be fierce. Fierce in love, kindness, compassion, and willpower. I believe in my abilities and the things I am able to accomplish if I set my mind to something. I have learned that in being fierce, there is absolutely no time to doubt myself which has worked greatly in my favor. I learned that demanding respect in all relationships I have formed has been about me making the decision to make myself a priority and learning to never settle for any less than I deserve, ever again. Thank you.

Third, I learned compassion. I learned to be kind to the other woman, and mostly, to the person who chose to hurt me. It took everything in me to remain kind while I was being hurt, but I am so thankful that I stayed true to the values and morals I was raised on. I have carried this with me throughout the past three years by choosing to show compassion to all people around me, and looking deeper into the reasons behind the actions and decisions that people make. Often times there is something going on behind closed doors and because of that, it is important to always, always radiate kindness. Thank you.

I wanted to extend my gratitude to the person who hurt me because if you hadn't, I wouldn't be the badass, boss girl, powerful woman that I am today. I am confident, smart, loving, and fully capable of giving and receiving the kindest, most sincere kind of love. My life has changed for the better, and I wouldn't change a single thing. I wish you the best, because let me tell ya, it feels great.

By the way, if you ever feel like you deserve better than what you're receiving in a relationship, trust your gut & walk the hell away. It's worth it.

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