January 31, 2012 in Features

Mango allergy mimics poison ivy

 

Q. After eating prepared mangos during the holidays, I bought some to peel and slice myself. I even chewed on the seed. Bad mistake!

By the next day, I was itching under my chin. This became swelling around my mouth and beside one eye.

I looked on the Internet and found that mango is related to poison ivy. Apparently there is an oil in the skin that can trigger reactions. Why is this not more widely known? I would never have suspected.

A. The sap of the mango tree and the skin of its fruit contain urushiol, the same irritating chemical that causes reactions to poison ivy and poison oak. In addition to an itchy rash, some people react to eating mangos with serious allergic symptoms such as swelling of the lips, face and tongue and even anaphylaxis.

Another allergy that might cause problems is latex. People with latex allergy may react to foods like mangos, kiwis, bananas and avocados.

In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Email them via their Web site: www.PeoplesPharmacy.com.


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