Several weeks ago I broke out in this terrible rash.  It progressively got worse so eventually I made my way to the Urgent Care to only be told that they thought it was cold sores. The thought that kept going through my mind was, “where in the world did I get this?!” and disappointment that I had somehow acquired this lifetime virus that just keeps on giving. Despite the fact that the doctor “thought” that it was cold sores (he wasn’t 100% confident in his diagnosis), part of me just didn’t believe it. It wasn’t the characteristic sores and wasn’t responding to treatment at all (antiviral tabs and creams) and it continued to spread. Also I started breaking out in hives in several other areas of my body (chest, wrist, cheeks, neck, leg, etc.).

After many painful and embarrassing days I finally figured out what was causing this horrendous itchy, painful, swollen blisters all over my lips, chin and even nose….MANGOES!

Taken from the Discovery Channel website:
Mango and poison ivy are both in the cashew family, and both contain a substance called urushiol (yu-roosh’-ee-all). It’s the poison in poison ivy, the cause of the blisters and itching. The mango contains much, much less of the irritant than poison ivy, but despite that, some very sensitive people can get a rash just from handling mango peel and being exposed to its sap. Luckily, more often than not, even sensitive people can enjoy the delectable fruit of the mango, provided someone else peels it for them.

After reading this it makes so much more sense.  The day before and day that I started getting these sores I had eaten mango and continued to eat it for days into the allergic reaction (I thought the vitamin C would help my immune system – silly me!?).  It wasn’t until weeks that after I had them again did it click that mangoes were what was causing the reactions. The good news? Lots of Benadryl and prescription strength hydrocortisone cream really halted the reaction that last time and knocked it out of my system very quickly.

The following are pictures of my reaction, and yes, they are gross and kind of embarrassing to show (work sucked with these – people gave dirty looks and it hurt so much to talk). I’m posting them because seeing and hearing other’s experience really helped me feel better about everything and I really think that it’s important that people learn about this potential reaction.
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I just wanted to pass this information on because I had absolutely no clue that this existed. I’m severely allergic to poison ivy so it’s no surprise that I had such an intense reaction (the last time I swelled up much quicker and had my lips, mouth and throat swell a bit). I’m definitely thinking that a allergy test may be in order because they are chances of cross-sensitivity (cashews, pistachios, papaya, latex). Better safe than sorry. I’m sad I can’t eat one of my new favorite foods anymore (I’m leery about even eating the fruit after this last allergic reaction), but it’s just not worth it.

Anyone else out there have crazy allergies or reactions? How about to mango? Did you even know that this allergy existed?
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