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Preparing Ceviche – Burns from Lime Juice

Preparing fresh ceviche for our guests is so much fun to do; but did you know you can get pretty ugly burns from the lime juice? No kidding! First of all watching someone catching a fish is a great, great feeling. Then on the boat, while listening to the unforgettable story of the fight with a fish on a spear, we clean the fish, cut tomatoes, cilantro, etc., and of course we squeeze the limes…

Now we are all aware that what we do, freediving, can be dangerous. We do crazy stuff, but know our limits. Though still our loved ones are always happy when we arrive safely back on land. No black outs, no bites in our calfs, jeje. No one ever had expected that this trip on a lovely Sunday with interesting company and fresh ceviche would end in a “burning nightmare” a couple of days later. Freediving and spearfishing dangerous? No, preparing ceviche on the contrary is, haha. Lime juice can give you second degree burns.

So while our deckhand Rene was cleaning the Snapper, I myself started to squeeze the limes. Cutting them in half and squeezing, squeezing, squeezing. In the meantime, I had a wonderful conversation with one of our guests. There was ceviche for everybody. And even some to take home; nothing went to waste. Everybody happy… so far.

Que pasó afterwards?

At night my fingers started to itch. I thought of sunburn. On Monday I was in the water all day spearfishing and my gloves seemed to be tight and my fingers started to hurt. I started to get worried. Tuesday morning I woke up with little blisters on my fingers and hands. Mmmmm, not so good. Tuesday afternoon the blisters were so big that I could not do anything with my hands anymore. Straight to the Hospital. Holy…

The doctor introduced me to Phytophotodermatitis. Phyto que?!?! “Did you squeeze any limes in the last few days?” Yes sir, I did while preparing ceviche. “Well now you know you have to be very careful as you have second degree burns from the lime juice.” Check it out:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phytophotodermatitis

Lime disease… is a chemical reaction of the skin that makes the skin hypersensitive to ultraviolet light. So the lime juice itself is no problem. But when it stays on the skin, the uv light of the sun will cause Serious burns. Serious with a capital S that is.

Will save you the nasty details and will not post any pictures, but I was out of order for “a couple” of days and I have brand new skin on all my fingers. You have got to love pink…

While googling this, I found a similar story:
http://hanfordsentinel.com/news/local/children-burned-by-household-fruit/article_6fb7f69a-143f-11e3-a634-001a4bcf887a.html

So spearfishermen, hobby chefs and marineros. Rinse your hands thoroughly after squeezing limes while preparing ceviche to avoid burns from lime juice. Be careful!

Provecho!

Leo

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