A fellow volunteer had to leave her post recently because of a severe reaction to what she thinks was mango skin.
What is this interesting allergy? I decided to do some research and share the results with you all!
Mango skin has a chemical in the sap called ‘urushiol’ that causes reactions similar to poison sumac and poison ivy in some people. Apparently up to 90% of Americans experience some level of sensitivity to this chemical.
The symptoms are similar to those other poisonous plants, contact dermatitis, where the skin that came in direct contact with the mango becomes itchy, inflamed, blistery, and flaky. In severe cases, oozing pustules may appear. A feeling of burning is not uncommon. Unlike in a normal food allergy, symptoms are localized and do not spread.
This would be a very unfortunate allergy! Luckily for most people with urushiol sensitivity can still eat mangoes if they don’t touch the skin of the mango at all. Have someone else do the washing and peeling and you should be able to enjoy all those wonderful mango creations. My diet is like 80% mango right now because they’re so cheap right now!