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Stung by a plant – Mayo Clinic

Allied Barons: I have always grown up around water and love to swim.

Vivian Williams: But last year, during spring break, lifeguard Ally Barons developed a strange long, red mark on her leg after a dip in the ocean.

Allied Barons: But then it started to get very red and blistery.

Vivian Williams: She thought maybe it was a jellyfish sting. Mayo Clinic Dr. Dawn Davis told Ally yes, it was a sting, but from a plant and the sun, not a jellyfish.

Allied Barons: So I was a little disappointed because jellyfish sound cooler.

Dawn Marie R. Davis, MD: There are certain plants and fruits in nature, such as dill, buttercup, bergamot, musk ambrette, parsley, parsnip, and citrus fruits, especially lime, that when these chemicals they contain come into contact with the skin and then exposed to ultraviolet light, a chemical reaction occurs. And you can develop a dermatitis, which is called phytophotodermatitis, light-induced eczema of plants, or you can develop phototoxic dermatitis, that is, sunburn dermatitis of plants.

Vivian Williams: Typical scenarios would be when you brush against certain plants on a walk or when you squeeze a lime into a drink, maybe you get some juice on your hands, you touch your arm. And when the sun hits that spot, dermatitis appears in the form of handprints or drips.

Dawn Marie R. Davis, MD: Many people think it’s poison ivy with the lines and streaks. But, in fact, it is not. It is a phytophotodermatitis.

Vivian Williams: Treatment includes topical ointment and staying out of the sun.

Allied Barons: It’s right here on my leg.

Vivian Williams: Ally says her reaction was a bit hurtful, but it’s fading with time. For Medical Edge, I’m Vivien Williams.

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