Skin reaction to summer foods

July 16, 2012 1:24:01 PM PDT
There is an odd and uncommon phenomenon that can effect you and your family anytime you go out in the sun.

Turns out certain foods can cause a serious skin reaction.

So what should you look out for?

"I've always grown up around water and I love to swim," said Ali Behrens.

But last year during spring break, life guard Ali Behrens developed a strange, long red mark on her leg after a dip in the ocean.

She thought maybe it was a jelly fish sting. But it was actually a skin reaction caused by a plant and the sun. It's called Phytophotodermatitis. It's caused by chemical compounds in certain fruits and plants that are activated by the sun.

"When these chemicals that they contain hit your skin and then it's exposed to ultraviolet light, a chemical reaction occurs," said Dr. Dawn Davis.

The most common causes are plants like dill, buttercup, bergamot, musk ambrette, parsley, and parsnip and citrus fruits, especially lime. So if you brush up against plants while hiking, or squeeze a lime and get that juice on your hands, and then go out in the sun, you may end up with a painful rash that looks like this within just a few hours.

"A lot of people think that it's poison ivy with the lines and the streaks, but it's indeed not. It's a Phytophotodermatitis," adds Dr. Davis.

And the rash occurs exactly where the lime juice or plant touched the skin.

So for example, if you get lime juice on your hands, then pick up your child, go out in the sun-- they may have end up with a painful rash in the shape of your hand print.

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