An Australian mother is warning other parents over a little-known condition that left her son's arms and hands covered in blisters.
NSW mum Catherine took to social media to issue a "public health announcement" to warn of the dangers of handling limes outdoors.
Sharing a photo of her son sat in a hospital chair with "really bad" burns on his forearms, the mother explained he had been juicing limes before developing the alarming symptoms.
"We now know this to be margarita burn – a reaction of the lime juice with UV light," she explained.
Margarita burn, formally named phytophotodermatitis, occurs when the chemical furocoumarin, found in limes and other citrus fruits, reacts with sunlight.
Catherine said her family had never heard of margarita burn and even some of the hospital staff in the Byron Shire on NSW's north coast were unaware of it.
A NSW woman was similarly "confused" by the cause of her burns in January last year, with the 23-year-old mixing drinks with fresh lime during Boxing Day festivities. Even more surprising to her was that she was washing her hands regularly, she told Yahoo News Australia.
'Massive toxic reaction'
Dermatologist Dr Deshan Sebaratnam, an associate professor at the University of Sydney, explains that the chemical "makes your skin more sensitive to the sun".
"Your skin becomes really, really sensitive to the sun and a little bit of sun — which would not normally even cause a sunburn — suddenly causes this massive kind of toxic reaction [on] the top layer of your skin."
The chemical is also found in celery, figs, fennel, and a number of other plants.
In November, Tiny Hearts Education, a first-aid course provider for parents, warned parents of phytophotodermatitis after a young boy burned his chest while playing with a lime that had fallen off a tree in his garden in what his parents described as a "horrific experience".
According to Healthline, the best ways to protect your children are to keep them in shade where possible, wear sun protective clothing along with sunscreen and to thoroughly wash body parts that may have been in contact with fruits and plants that may contain furocoumarin.
Do you have a story tip? Email: email@example.com.