Bartenders, Chefs, and Margarita Burns

By July 30, 2017Burn Injuries

Sunburns are the most common way for you to suffer a burn injury. While sunburns are one of the most life-threatening burns in the long run, unless you have been exposed regularly over the course of several years, they are often nothing more than a painful inconvenience.

However, if the circumstances are just right – or perfectly wrong – a single day in the sun can lead to a serious burn injury.

Photosensitizer Chemicals

Some fruits and plants contain chemicals called photosensitizers. When exposed to these chemicals, your skin becomes extra-sensitive to sunlight, increasing the danger of a sunburn. Additionally, the extra sensitivity that photosensitizers cause in your skin ensures that any sunburn that you suffer will be made even worse.

These chemicals are found in a handful of foods, from wild carrots to parsnips to limes.

Margarita Burns

Sitting in the sun, drinking margaritas is an almost stereotypical way to relax in the summer. However, one of the crucial ingredients that makes the drink so perfect in the summertime is lime juice, one of the sources of the photosensitizer chemicals that can make sunburns so much worse.

While your ability to enjoy a cool margarita should not be affected by photosensitizer chemicals, if you are the one making the drink then you should be careful – overlooking the danger to your skin can lead to second-degree burns, as one New York bartender found out.

Squeezing Limes Sends Bartender to Hospital With Burns

Bartender Justin Fehntrich got called to work at an outdoor fundraiser on Long Island. Part of his setup included slicing and squeezing around 100 limes to make fresh lime juice for cocktails. The process, as expected, resulted in his hands being covered in juice and oils from the limes. After the prep work, Fehntrich worked at one of the several outdoor bars at the gala. Unlike many of the others, however, Fehntrich’s bar was located between the pool and the shore, out in the open sun.

Following the event, Fehntrich’s hands turned red, bloated up with swelling, and became dotted with fluid-filled blisters. It was so bad that Fehntrich went to the hospital, expecting to be diagnosed with poison oak. Instead, it was phytophotodermatitis, colloquially known as “margarita burn.” The lime juice increased the light sensitivity of Fehntrich’s hands, making what would have been a mild sunburn turn into a second-degree burn that required hospitalization, weeks of treatment, lost wages, and lots of pain and suffering.

The condition is rare, and has the symptoms of many other skin conditions, making it difficult to diagnose. However, with more and more emphasis on local and fresh ingredients throughout the food service industry, bartenders and chefs are increasingly being put at risk.

Burn Injury Attorneys at Walker Morgan

If you work with foods that contain photosensitizer chemicals, you could be at risk for severe burns. Bartenders and chefs work with their hands, and having to spend days or weeks caring for second-degree burns, like Fehntrich did, can impact your income and job prospects.

If you have suffered a burn injury, contact the attorneys at the Walker Morgan Law Firm online or at (800) 922-8411 today.

Will Walker

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