The hidden dangers of mangoes

So—a public service announcement. Did you have any idea that mango peel contains urushiol, just like poison ivy? I didn’t. And mango season is upon us in Florida!

Since tree-ripe mango has overtaken even tree-ripe peaches as my favorite fruit in all the wide world, I was ecstatic to find some at the farmers’ market last weekend. I peeled the skin off one, gobbled it up, and was very sad when it was gone. :-( So I picked up the pit and …kind of…nibbled the remaining fruit off it. Then I did the same with the peel.

(Okay. Really I was just being a piggy and scraped all the flesh off with my teeth and slurped it up, but “nibble” sounds so much nicer….)

Well, today I have lips three times their normal size, and I had to go get a prescription for steroids from my doc because I was afraid my poor puckers would pop. They look like those of some body-dysmorphic celebutante who went crazy with the collagen and then got punched in the mouth. They hurt!!

(And in case some silly teenager reading this thinks it might be a nifty idea to get an Angelina Jolie pout by mouthing a mango, I assure you that the suppurating rash that accompanies the puffiness would be a big turnoff to anyone within an intimate distance. Ick. Seriously.)

Anyway, if you’re allergic to poison ivy, oak, or sumac, be really careful with mango peel. You can eat the fruit itself—just use gloves to peel it, and don’t get the skin near your mouth.

Better yet, let some nonallergic sweetie peel it, and feed it to you in tiny pieces. :-)

5 thoughts on “The hidden dangers of mangoes”

  1. Oh lord. I’m horribly allergic to poison ivy, and I had no idea of this. Thanks very much, and I’m dreadfully sorry you’re suffering through this.

  2. After spending the day wading through publishing stuff–this made me laugh. I am so sorry this happened… but your imagery is priceless. Especially about Jolie And I thought.. hey.. who need injections when you can suck on a mango.

    I too am sensitive, and adore mangos… Why not grab a popsicle? That might help.

    Thanks for the heads up


  3. They look like those of some body-dysmorphic celebutante who went crazy with the collagen and then got punched in the mouth.

    God, you must look exactly like Angelina Jolie…

    But seriously: I didn’t know this, and I am allergic to poison ivy, and there are lots of mangos in my ‘hood. Will watch out.

    Hope you feel better soon!

  4. Ha! Useful information.

    I think this comes under the heading of eating food that tried to eat you first? So… it DESERVED to be eaten, yes?

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