People who don’t like mangoes are a rarity. With its delightfully sweet taste, soft texture, and vitamin content, the mango has become one of the world’s most popular fruits. But there ARE people who shy away from eating mangoes, not because they don’t like the taste, but because the fruit makes their mouths itch!
The condition is called “mango mouth,” which produces an itchy and tingly sensation when the fruit makes contact with the mouth. This happens to people with mango allergy; their mouth can’t tolerate the chemical called urushiol.
The mango peel and the fruit directly underneath it have high concentrations of urushiol.
The chemical is also found in poison ivy, poison sumac, and poison oak. So it’s hardly surprising that eating mangoes can make some feel itchy.
There are varying symptoms of mango mouth.
The most common is the tingling sensation and/or slight numbness in the mouth area. Some even develop rash on the skin.
If you have these symptoms, you have to stay away from eating mangoes in its fruit form. You can also ask someone to peel off the fruit for you so your skin will not make contact with the peel.
If you have to do the peeling yourself, you need to cover your hands with gloves or plastic bag before handling the mangoes. Make sure to wash your hands with warm water and soap; urushiol is made of oil so washing with cold water will not remove it from your hands.
Let someone else do the peeling for you.
The usual treatments for mango allergy are over-the-counter antihistamines and topical or oral steroid treatment. But a lot of people do not need treatment at all – symptoms can go away within a week or two with or without treatment. If you think your reaction is severe, it’s best to consult with the doctor.
The good news is that you can still enjoy mangoes in other forms. You can drink the smoothie or eat desserts stuffed or flavored with mangoes.
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