Did you know that the tropical fruit, mango, is in the same family as cashews and poison ivy? About a week or two ago, my mom called to tell me that she had read something about people who are allergic to poison ivy having a similar reaction to the skin of mangoes. She thought I'd like to know because our second son, NG, is very allergic to poison ivy. We found out a few years ago, when he was playing around with his older brother and M1 grabbed a handful of red leaves and stuffed them down NG's shirt. Did you know that poison ivy leaves turn red in early autumn? Well, I didn't and, apparently, neither did M1. NG broke out in a horrible rash over his whole upper body, neck, and face. His ears swelled. His eyes swelled. He was miserable. It wasn't a case of poison ivy you could treat at home, it called for a trip to the doctor.
Just this week, I bought some mangoes because they were on sale for 2/$1. NG had been checking them each day to see if they were ripe yet. Two days ago, he found that they were ready. He scored the skin, peeled off four sections of the skin, and nibbled the little chunks that were still attached to the skin. The next day, NG had a dry, patchy rash starting around his mouth. I assumed it was from dairy because he had been drinking milk consistently for the past week. But then, today I remembered what my mom had told me and did a little research online. After reading THIS, I am certain that the mango is what has caused NG's rash. Once we thought about it, we remembered that sometime in the past year, NG had a rash just like it while he was staying at my mom's. It started around his mouth and then made two paths on each side of his nose straight up to his eyes. But we cannot remember if he had eaten any mangoes during that time. We just assumed that it was allergic eczema then also. NG was not pleased to learn that his favorite fruit was causing his skin rash. What I've read indicates that it is the skin, not the flesh, that contains the irritating oil, urushiol, so NG should be able to continue eating mangoes. Needless to say, NG will no longer be peeling them.