As you are probably well aware, contact with poison ivy can cause rashes and itching. The type of skin reaction that occurs can range from localized fine red bumps to severe itching and blisters in those individuals who are highly allergic to it.
Poison ivy allergy represents a version of what is called delayed hypersensitivity. Allergic reactions that you might experience of this type can usually be linked to a specific ingredient that is responsible for the symptoms and irritation that develops. You would usually find that this type of reaction usually shows up 48 or 72 hours after your exposure to the substance that triggers the response.
In the case for poison ivy plants, the chemical that is responsible for allergic sensitivity is called urushiol. After exposure to this chemical, most commonly by contact with the leaves of the poison ivy plants a reaction sequence is initiated that progresses to the classical skin rash and itching that occurs.
The urusiol chemical is also present in the rind of the mango. By eating a fresh mango in a way that the lips are in contact with the rind, the skin can come in contact with the urushiol chemical. If are allergic, this can lead to itching and swelling of the lips along with a fine bumpy rash. In more extreme cases, the eyelids can become swollen and shut and the rash can spread to other areas of the face if you happen to be an individual highly sensitive to this ingredient.
The good news in all of this is that while the sensitizing chemical is present in the rind, it is not contained in the fleshy part of the fruit itself. Therefore you would be ok to eat the fruit without coming into contact with the potentially harmful chemical.
So, when eating fresh a mango, if you have any known sensitivity to poison ivy, you should avoid eating the fruit directly from the rind. Otherwise, if you are sensitive to urushiol, as mentioned earlier, it can cause a rash with itching, swelling, fine bumps or blistering around the mouth. If you know that you are very sensitive to poison ivy, then you would be at higher risk for the severe reaction where the eyelids can become puffy, and swollen to the point that your eyes are closed. When this type of reaction occurs, you would require urgent medical attention.
In addition to cross reacting with poison ivy, mango may cross react with cashew nuts as well as various respiratory allergens including, birch pollen, celery, and carrot.
So, enjoy your mangoes, but….. be wary of the rind!