A mother’s warning after her young daughter suffered ‘margarita burn’ from eating celery

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A mother-of-two has warned parents of the dangers of feeding young children certain foods in the sun after her young daughter suffered an agonizing “margarita burn”.

Reanna Bendzak, of Canada, said her then seven-month-old baby girl played in the sun for less than an hour while eating a stick of celery during a family barbecue in March.

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The next day, the mother noticed that an angry rash had formed around her baby’s mouth.

On the third day, her daughter suffered from blistering burns on her face and struggled with excruciating pain for nearly two weeks.

The little girl had been suffering from the little-known phytophotodermatitis, also known as margarita burns.

Mom’s warning after baby suffers margarita burn from eating celery Credit: Reanna Bendzak/Facebook

It is a skin condition caused by a chemical reaction between sunlight and certain plant chemicals, most commonly citrus fruits.

The mother said she had no idea the chemical furanocoumarin was also found in the juice of celery, as well as carrots, figs, dill, parsley and parsnips.

After the barbecue, parents noticed red spots around their daughter’s mouth about 30 hours after sun exposure.

“It wasn’t warm by any means but it was sunny so she was covered in a romper from neck to toe and we had a sun hat on her so we thought she was reasonably well protected,” the mother said Good morning America.

‘I had no idea’

The mother had given her baby a piece of celery to chew to “soothe her gums”.

“Our seven-month-old lay in the sun for 20-30 minutes, the celery juice/drool wiped off with a dry cloth and bathed in the evening,” she explained.

But blisters began to form on the daughter’s face – as the reaction intensified and damaged the skin.

“Up until this experience, I had no idea it was even possible,” she said.

Her daughter suffered from blistering burns on her face. Credit: Reanna Bendzak

“In hindsight, of course, we would have done everything differently and made a conscious effort to go in and wash with soap and water.”

The mother said her daughter is “healing well” but she now has “a long road of hyperpigmentation and scarring to deal with.”

“Please be careful”

In a Facebook post, the mother wanted to share her baby’s story in hopes of raising awareness about the risks associated with consuming certain foods and drinks in the sun.

“Phytophotodermatitis is a burn-like skin reaction that occurs when the juice of a fruit/vegetable containing furanocoumarins gets on the skin and then is exposed to sunlight,” she explained.

“Please be mindful of what snacks/drinks you and your children enjoy and wash thoroughly before going out in the sun if you consume anything on the list as this can happen to anyone.”

Grapefruit, Seville oranges, pomelos, and figs are known to contain furanocoumarins, as are celery, parsnips, fennel seeds, parsley, and wild carrots.

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James Brien

James Brien is a 24ssports U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. James Brien joined 24ssports in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: jamesbrien@24ssports.com.

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