Posted at: 07/17/2012 4:07 PM
Updated at: 07/17/2012 5:27 PM
By: Melanie Bloom
Medical Edge: Bad Plants
(ABC 6 News) -- Skin cancer isn't the only concern for day at the beach. You can be also stung by a plant leading to a painful rash that can blister.
A day in the sun at the beach can cause a reaction on your skin that you may mistake for bruises or poison ivy, but it could be something else when you touch certain plants and then exposed to sunlight.
"I've always grown up around water and i love to swim." Last year during spring break, life guard Ali Behrens developed a strange, long red mark on her leg after a dip in the ocean.
"Had skin reaction then it started to get really red and blistered so that's when we got concerned."
She thought it was a jelly fish sting. Mayo Clinic doctor Dawn Davis told Ali, yes it was a sting. But from a plant and the sun, not a jelly fish.
"I was kind of disappointed because a jelly fish sounds cooler," said Behrens/
"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 that they contain hit your skin and then it's exposed to ultraviolet light, a chemical reaction occurs and you can either develop a dermatitis, which is called phytophotodermatitis, plant-light-induced eczema, or you can develop a phototoxic dermatitis, meaning plant sunburn dermatitis," said Dr. Davis, a Mayo Clinic Dermatologist.
Typical scenarios would be, when you brush up against certain plants on a hike, or when you squeeze a lime into a drink, you get the juice on your hands, touch your arm and when the sun hits that spot, the dermatitis appears in the shape of drips or even hand prints.
"A lot of people think that it's poison ivy with the lines and the streaks, but it's indeed not. It's a phytophotodermatitis," said Dr. Davis.
Treatment includes ointment and staying out of the sun.
"It's right there on my leg." Ali says her reaction was painful, but over time, it's fading.
The skin reactions often look like poison ivy or hand prints.