A mother in Canada is raising awareness about the risks of eating and drinking outdoors as summer approaches. Reanna Bendzak recounted an incident when she gave her then-7-month-old daughter a piece of celery to chew on during an outdoor barbecue in March.
Despite taking precautions like covering her daughter with a onesie and a sun hat, her daughter developed a rash around her mouth that escalated into blisters.
After a diagnosis, it was revealed that her daughter had phytophotodermatitis, a skin reaction caused by contact with certain plants while exposed to sunlight, told “Good Morning America.”
Bendzak and her husband discovered that celery, among other plants such as limes and citrus fruits, can cause this condition. Although Bendzak and her husband had wiped their daughter’s face, they had not washed it with soap and water at the time.
Bendzak expressed her initial concerns and the realization that they would have taken different precautions in hindsight. Her daughter experienced blisters for about 10 days and had some scarring and hyperpigmentation for approximately six weeks.
However, she has since recovered. Bendzak shared her family’s story on Facebook to raise awareness and help others avoid similar situations.
Dr. Jennifer Ashton, ABC News chief medical correspondent, emphasized the need for awareness during the summer season when people spend more time outside cooking, eating, and handling drinks.
Ashton highlighted citrus fruits, particularly limes, as common culprits, earning the condition the nickname “margarita burn.” In addition to celery and citrus, other plants and fruits like carrots, peppers, dill, fennel, mustard, parsley, and parsnip can cause phytophotodermatitis.
Ashton recommended washing the skin with soap and water when handling food and drinks outdoors, as well as daily sunscreen application.
She emphasized the importance of using sunscreen throughout the year and seeking medical attention if any skin changes are noticed. Phytophotodermatitis can range from mild to severe symptoms, including itching, inflammation, discoloration, and blistering.