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The dangers of mango sap

GardenDrum

GardenDrum

September 15, 2015
Phil Dudman mango fruit

Photo Phil Dudman

Did you know that mango sap is a very acidic and can cause terrible skin burns? Mango pickers in the Northern Territory in the coming harvest season will be required to wear protective cream as part of a new recruitment program.

Top End Recruiting says the sap builds up on the skin during the picking season and that some mango pickers can be so badly affected that they can spend up to a week in hospital. In 2012, 82 pickers presented at emergency at Katherine Hospital with mango sap burns.

The sap can squirt out from the stem when the mango is pulled off the stem, reaching distances of several metres. If it hits the eyes, it creates a very painful sting. On unprotected skin, even people not normally allergic to anything will be affected by mango sap after a few days. The burns become unbearably itchy, exacerbated by the humid climate, and the skin develops a ‘mango rash’ of small blisters.

Picking machines put the picked fruit immediately through an antacid wash so those handling the fruit later aren’t likely to be affected, but if you have a mango tree at home, BEWARE! Wear long sleeves and eye protection to pick your mangoes.

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Lionel Jayasinghe
Lionel Jayasinghe
2 years ago

I picked few Mangos from my gareden in Colombo. I feel som skin irritation on that day and some black colour blisters appeared in my skin just after a day.Now I know whats the problem. Thanks Ctherine. I applied some amtbiotic gell Fusidin

Jasmine Shaik
Jasmine Shaik
1 year ago

How many days it took to go white spots…and clear skin

Vaishnavi
Vaishnavi
7 months ago

This is the second time i am suffering due to mangoes sap. What i have learned is keep moisturizing your skin. This avoids the the infection to turn in any colour but natural skin

Zoé
Zoé
6 years ago

I learned the hard way – back in 1995 I must have ingested some of the sap on my hands after picking mangoes from my Brisbane garden tree. I went into a coma and was rushed to hospital. I survived but the pain, a migraine of staggering intensity, on a scale of 1 to 10 I’d register it 11, kept me in an agonising delirium for days. I didn’t eat another mango for years, then began cautiously attempting one a year. I can now enjoy them again, though I buy them from supermarkets now I am in England. I suspect that antacid bath you mention protects us from such intense allergies these days.

Catherine Stewart
Admin
Catherine Stewart(@cstewart)
6 years ago
Reply to  Zoé

OH MY! What a terrifying ordeal. I didn’t realise it got quite that bad. I am amazed you had the courage to ever go near one again.

Arunjith
Arunjith
2 years ago

a drop of sap has fallen into my left eye yesterday and I washed my eyes with water. Today my left eye is red and painful. No blisters are visible. i hope it will go in a few days.

Bea Santos
Bea Santos
1 year ago
Reply to  Arunjith

This is exactly the same as to what happened to me now???! How was your left eye now?? Hope it didn’t get serious.

Adriana Davies
4 years ago

3 years ago I rented a place that had 2 mango trees. I developed a rash several times & never knew what it was. I had tests to determine the cause of the rash but results were inconclusive. I live in an area where mango trees are everywhere. Funny thing is as soon as I moved out of that property the rash stopped.

Andy
Andy
2 years ago

Ive become allergic also to the sap and skin when prior years I wasn’t…All I can say wash your hands asap and use gloves..For me, from my hands having sap on spread to my arms and elbows, its not painful for me but itchy and lumpy is what comes to my mind, also as I must have rub my eyes, they become swollen also….

Fran Ribeca
Fran Ribeca
2 years ago

what can be used to wash the sap off of mangos? I am highly allergic to the sap, rash all over, went to Urgent Care, got a shot of Prednisone and a packet of pills to take for a week. I love mangoes. I am using Rubber gloves, but wonder what can be done to remove the sap from the mangoes before peeling.

Kat
Kat
1 year ago

I picked mangos in Florida from a home garden. 4 days later I scratched my arm and soon after I had bumps and itchy patches all over my arm. I also have a few bumps on my legs which I first thought were mosquito bites. Some develop the puss blister some don’t. Thought it was covid-19, then thought poison ivy- but I Wasn’t around poison ivy. Finally googled mango tree sap can resemble poison ivy blisters. My mom also has this rash/blister as she was helping me pick mangos.

Gerry
1 year ago

We have a mango tree out front in our neighbors yard. So, I used a long pole to nudge the mangoes and then catch them one by one as they fell. The next day both my eyes were swollen, itchy, and red like an allergic reaction. I’m trying not to rub my eyes. I used eye drops and a antibiotic cream around the eyes but only It only temporarily relieved the itching so I could sleep. The next morning my eyes were both still swollen. And still itchy, no sign of getting better yet. The first time I picked mangoes, the leaves were covered with red ants and a white balls which I later found out were ant eggs. Unfortunately some ants landed landed on me and bit me. I Was shirtless and suffered a red rash all over my body which took over a week to heal. Luckily, this one feels minor compared to that although concerning due to being in both eyes. Hope it goes away soon, it’s been two days so far. I think I’ll stay away from Mango trees for a while or follow the suggestions on here.

Last edited 1 year ago by Gerry
James Laut
James Laut
3 years ago

Recently I have experience this in Malaysia. However, I believe this is not true for all varieties of mangoes as I have been exposed to several other varieties of mango sap elsewhere in the world.

Wendy Hartnett
Wendy Hartnett
1 year ago

I picked some mangoes a few years ago for salsa and ate it for 2 days before I had an issue. I guess I rubbed my face on the way from from picking because my face was swollen. I went to ER and they said I was allergic to them, so I haven’t eaten any since. I realize it wasn’t the mangoes themselves, but probably the sap. I’m still scared to eat them though.

Lokt
Lokt
8 months ago

What happens if mango sap comes in contact with eyes?

Karen Shaw
Admin
Karen Shaw(@karenshaw)
8 months ago
Reply to  Lokt

Hello, It can be very painful.

Catherine Stewart
Admin
Catherine Stewart(@cstewart)
4 years ago

Yes it’s surprising we don’t hear more about what a dangerous tree this can be for some people.