MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — There’s a big chance you’ve handled some limes this summer. You may not know there’s danger to handling them in the heat.
From cocktails to marinades to guacamole, this is the prime lime season.
Adam Levy, singer of the Honeydogs says, “Citrus is great, it’s like a total summer fruit.”
But it wasn’t always so great to musician Adam Levy as he was celebrating his daughter’s graduation last month.
“I was making a lot of food and handling a lot of things and the very last thing that I did was about a dozen, squeezing those for this chimichurri sauce for this meat I was gonna grill,” Levy said.
The next day, he noticed redness only in the areas the lime juice touched.
“It started blistering and then I noticed my tongue was swelling up and the following day my breathing was messed up and I was like, ‘This isn’t just sun,'” Levy said.
It wasn’t. The lime juice created a reaction with the sun, a dangerous one.
Dr. Jamie Davis of Uptown Dermatology says, “Some people just get a dark pigmentation from it, some people actually blister, it can be equivalent to a second degree burn in people.”
It’s called phytophotodermatitis. Some people call it the margarita rash, but limes are not only to blame.
“Celery root, fig, wild parsnip and essential oils too,” Dr. Davis said.
Dr. Jamie Davis says it’s similar to a sunburn mixed with poison ivy, and it’s not rare. She sees it regularly.
“If you are drinking a margarita or a Corona with a lime or a fruit salad that has lime, just to be aware. Don’t do it out in the sun and if you do, wash right away,” Davis said.
Levy ended up needing IV medications, steroids and several trips to the doctor. After two weeks, his wounds are still healing. He’s burned, but not bitter.
“I got a little queasy for the last week but I love lime. I’m just gonna be more careful about it,” Levy said.
Dr. Davis says she has even seen patients come in with hand prints shaped rashes on their hips from handling margaritas in the sun.
So wash your hands immediately if you handle lime or these other fruits, or just do your squeezing indoors.