Mango & Skin Rashes

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Mango rinds contain an oil, called urushiol, that occasionally causes skin irritation. Although it is relatively common for people to develop rashes after coming into contact with urushiol, it is minimally present in the actual mango flesh. Few people develop similar rashes from eating mango fruit.

What Happens

A rash that occurs as a result of a substance coming into contact with your skin is called contact dermatitis. Mango rinds emit allergens that cause contact dermititis in certain people. In the case of a mango reaction, an itchy rash usually presents oozing blisters that develop a few hours after contact and last for several days.

How To Treat It

Alan Titchenal and Joannie Dobbs, nutritionists at the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawaii, recommend using a soap called Zanfel on the affected area. If this isn't available, an oral antihistamine or topical steroid cream may provide quick relief for a minor rash. Place a cold compress on it to reduce swelling and reduce the pain of any blistered skin. If your rash is severe or troubling, get medical help. You may need antibiotics or a prescription steroidal treament.

Avoiding Mango Reactions

If you have experienced a rash from touching a mango rind, you obviously should avoid touching mango rinds. In addition, stay away from people, animals and objects that have recently been in contact with them. Washing hands and garden tools with soap and water will usually remove the allergens sufficiently.

Do I Have To Avoid Eating Mango?

The mango has become highly popular, and it is used in many common fruit juices and snack foods. If you have never had a reaction after eating something that contained mango, then you can probably eat it without a problem, as long as the sap from the rind is handled carefully. If someone else cuts the mango for you, make sure the knife that cut through the rind is immediately washed, and that the mango is rinsed to remove any urushiol residue.

Other Possible Allergens

People who are sensitive to mango rind are often also highly sensitive to sumac, poison ivy, poison oak and/or latex. If you have experienced an allergic reaction to one or more of these things, you might benefit from having an allergy test to find out if you are allergic to the others.

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