Sat, Apr 27, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Picking or peeling mangoes can cause rash: dermatologist

By Chen Feng-li and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Unripe mangoes are pictured on Tuesday in Nantou County.

Photo: Chen Feng-li, Taipei Times

A dermatologist has advised people to wear gloves or wash their hands after picking or peeling mangoes after a several incidents of people developing dermatitis from touching the fruit.

Mangoes ripen around May to August, but some people pick them while they are still green, cut them into slices and put them in the freezer with homemade sugar water to make a snack called mangguocing (芒果青).

Chiu Che-huang (邱哲煌), a dermatologist based in Nantou County’s Caotun Township (草屯), said that mangoes are part of the Anacardiaceae, or sumac family, which produces a liquid called urushiol when the skin of the tree, or the fruit rind, is broken.

Contact with urushiol can cause contact dermatitis, he said.

Chiu said his clinic admitted two people complaining of rashes on their arms and one attributing the rash to flea bites.

Chiu asked if they had come into contact with mangoes — which was confirmed — as the clinic had already treated people who had developed contact dermatitis from picking mangoes.

Patients with contact dermatitis can develop blisters as well as rashes, but symptoms usually wear off within a week, Chiu said.

Prescribed ointments or cold compresses could be applied on the blisters to reduce itchiness, he said, recommending antihistamines if the itching continues.

Farmers should wear gloves or wash their hands and arms after picking or slicing mangoes, Chiu said.

Even if gloves were worn, people should wash their hands and arms afterward, he said.

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