Summertime means more outdoor entertaining and nothing beats sipping on a cold drink while waiting for your BBQ fare to cook up.
All things considered, you’d think that firing up the grill would be the most dangerous part of the experience, but there’s another unexpected way you could end up in the hospital and you’ve probably been doing it all summer long.
Last month, Adam Levy of The Honeydogs, a Minneapolis-based band, was celebrating his daughter’s graduation with a backyard get together and was tasked with making the chimichurri sauce for the meat.
Everything went seemingly well until the next morning when he noticed sunburn-like patches of redness on his skin while enjoying his cuppa out in the sun.
“It didn’t really feel too bad,” Levy recalled, “it was more the discoloration is what I noticed first and then throughout the day it started getting more intense.”
The singer initially chalked it up to sunburn from spending long periods of time outdoors, but he began to worry after the rash started to change and swell up.
“It started blistering and then I noticed my tongue was swelling up and the following day my breathing was messed up and I was like, ‘This isn’t just sun,’” Levy said.
He immediately sought out a doctor and received some very unexpected news about the cause of his painful condition.
Levy was given an IV and antihistamines because he appeared to have suffered an allergic reaction, but when the blister continued to grow days later, he knew there was more to it.
Levy returned to the hospital and upon inspecting his wounds, he was diagnosed with phytophotodermatitis, a dangerous reaction that occurs when sunlight or ultraviolet light comes in contact with citric acid.
The chemicals that cause this type of toxic reaction are mostly found in “wild parsnip, wild dill, wild parsley, butter cups and citrus fruits, especially limes” according to the Mayo Clinic.
“Some people just get a dark pigmentation from it, some people actually blister, it can be equivalent to a second degree burn in people” explained Dr. Jamie Davis.
Remember when Levy had to squeeze some limes for his marinade? That’s exactly where the problem stemmed from. The areas of his hands where the lime juice touched suffered severe burns after being exposed to light for hours.
“When I looked at the marks, it’s like it’s exactly where the lime juice would have sort of cascaded over my hands as I was squeezing every last bit out with both hands,” Levy explained. “But of course my right hand got it worse because I use my right hand more than my left.”
It may take months for Levy’s hand to fully recover, but so far it is going well and he has been documenting his progress on his Facebook page. He is using the platform to warn others of the dangers of phytophotodermatitis also known as the margarita rash.
To avoid the same fate as Levy, you should always wash your hands after handling essential oils and certain fruits and vegetables, especially from the citrus family. You should also avoid drinking citrus infused drinks such as margaritas and Coronas while out in the sun.
Dr. Davis told CBS Minnesota that margarita rash isn’t as rare as many people assume. She regularly treats patients like Levy, some even “come in with hand prints shaped rashes on their hips from handling margaritas in the sun.”
Share this warning with your friends and family to protect them! Have you ever had a margarita rash?