'Lime Disease' Is the Latest Epidemic We Have to Beware of This Summer (PHOTOS)

woman drinking margarita on beachYou: sipping a cocktail and lounging outside in the sun. You, later: Wondering why the heck you have such a SEVERE rash on your hand/elbow/décolletage/cheek. Mystified as to where it came from? Turns out, drinking margaritas in the sun could get you severely burned, ladies.

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Shocking images of what happens when your skin is exposed to lime juice and UV rays are making the rounds on Instagram. And they are NOT pretty. Take a look.

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What's at work here? It's not a villainous preservative or particular brand of lime juice that's to blame. It's a REAL condition called phytophotodermatitis a.k.a. "Margarita Rash" or "Lime Disease," which is different, of course, from the kind spelled with a "y" and caused by blood-sucking ticks.

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Here's how it works: Many fruits and veggies contain light-sensitive chemicals. They're totally harmless -- unless they come into contact with the sun. If so -- ouch. After about 48 hours, skin that's been splashed or sprinkled with lime juice and exposed to the sun can break out in poison-ivy levels of itchiness. Redness. Blisters.

Weirdly, OTHER fruits and vegetables -- including celery and parsley -- contain the same photosensitizer and can cause similarly severe skin reactions. So much for thinking they're two of the most boring food items on the planet.

If you feel YOU have been exposed, thoroughly wash the area with soap and water. If you don't realize you've been limed until it's too late, cold compresses and an OTC hydrocortisone cream should help. (Just resist the urge to scratch or break any blisters that appear; that'll only make things worse.)

What's the takeaway here? Sip your margarita or mojito carefully. Avoid clumsy waiters carrying traysful of ceviche. And only EAT ants on a log. Do not rub the celery stalks on your arms.

Follow those rules, and chances are good you'll stay phytophotodermatitis-free this summer.

 

Images via Christian Wheatley/iStock

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