Friday, August 10, 2012

Mexican Beer Dermatitis

Don't you just hate it when you're 5 year old brother gets a brutal case of "Mexican beer dermatitis?"

Otherwise known as "Phytophotodermatitis,"
I thought you'd all appreciate knowing both how one gets it and how one can avoid it.
 Here's how it went down for us...

We went to the beach all day with some new friends.

We came home.

A couple of days later, we notice Haddon has some very peculiar markings on his torso,

And under his arm


They were so odd because they were the color of a birthmark (dark reddish purple) but the pattern looked more like scratches. We racked our brains and the only thing we could figure out was that perhaps he had scraped himself climbing up on something or out of a pool, though that was a whole week prior and they had just showed up. And the marks were not decreasing with each passing day, as a bruise would, nor was there any broken skin,consistent with a scrape of some sort.

We all scratched our heads and since Haddon wasn't feeling bad,nor were the marks bothering him,we left it as it was.
Then a couple of days later, he woke up with  his hands dark red and swollen up to his knuckles. The pictures don't look as bad as it is because of the lighting. Within days, as you can see in the picture below,he had even developed blisters filled with fluid on his hands. It really looked like he had chemical burns or a birthmark all over his hand.
  This concerned us,especially with the swelling, but we could not figure out what it could be! It was the same color as the markings on his torso but not in any way the same shape.
We finally settled on his hands being a reaction to some ant killer that had been poured the previous week in the rocks in our yard. Haddon had been playing outside and all we could deduce was that he had been digging in the rocks and somehow received chemical burns from it. I looked up the chemical and watched him for signs of nuerological damage... of which I saw none.

The other odd thing was that my niece also had a small mark on her hand of the same color but again different shape...and she refused to admit to digging with her hands in the rocks outside.

The days passed without much complaint from Haddon but I still was perplexed by our medical mystery,both torso and hands, though unaware they were related and concerned that it was not fading in the slightest,almost a week later.
I decided to get in touch with one of my closest friends, who I will now be calling "House."
She's a nurse practicioner,loves me far more than I deserve, has known me way too long, and knows I have some very incriminating photos of her, so I knew she'd entertain my bizarre emails. I sent her these photos and called her.
She said the only thing it looked like was this rare condition that people can get when exposed to lime juice and sun at the same time for an extended period of time. Other than that, she confirmed that I shouldn't be too worried about Haddon and I could put on some hydrocortisone creme to help the swelling.
I kinda shrugged and we got off the phone.

That's when it allllllll  began to make sense.

She also sent me articles and blog posts like THIS ONE that confirmed it for me.

I would NEVER have put two and two together but that glorious day we spent at the beach, the day before Haddon's torso markings showed up, we had eaten lunch at the beach. It was the first time we had done this and we partook of the famous fried fish guessed it...fresh limes to squeeze on top.
My niece,Kassie, had dropped a lime wedge on her hand...
Haddon had been the only boy to have taken his swim shirt off halfway through the day,leaving his torso exposed.
AND he had gone to collecting eevryones leftover limes and making "fresh squeezed lime juice" for all at the table after lunch. His hands had been drenched in lime juice. The lime juice had dripped down his torso and onto the table, rubbing off on his body.
Then we had all made our way back onto the beach where we...

Played all day.
The chances of folks back in the states getting this nice little condition is,of course, greatly decreased simply because people don't often interact with the sun AND limes at the same time.
But just in case you may be heading to the tropics anytime soon, or you find yourself developing a great love for fresh squeezed maragaritas by the pool...beware!!!!!!!
It can scar permanently and isn't expected to go away for about 3 months:(

The hydrocortisone we have been applying has helped but it has actually gotten worse on his hands and he has had blister and everything.

There are even cases of it being mistaken for abuse in a doctor's office situation. A doctor would be remiss to not be concerned. The child looked like he had been beaten or had chemical burns.
And who would EVER guess?!  LIMES?!
Well,except for my brilliant friend, Courtney.
To read more about this condition and how to avoid it go HERE.

And just in case a bad case of "Mexican Beer dermatitis" isn't enough to convince you that life in the Caribbean isn't always paradise...

guess what we found under our propane tank when switching them out last week?

1 comment:

A Pastor's wife said...

We do not know each other but I absolutely LOVE reading your blogs. After my husband returned home from a Haiti Mission trip this past June, a mutual friend of ours refered me to your site. Keep up the faith, ministry and fun!