Why Do Fig Trees Make You Itch?
Many people wonder why fig trees make them itch. The sap from the tree has a chemical component called furocoumarins, which can be irritating when it comes into contact with the skin. But the main culprit of this irritant reaction is fig leaves, which are very tough and scaly. This enzyme causes the allergic reaction, which can range from mild to severe. And, while figs are not considered food, eating them can cause an itchy, red rash.
While the fig tree is not poisonous, it does contain a substance called ficin that can be irritating to some people. It’s important to note that this substance isn’t found in the fig fruit itself, but rather in its sap. This irritant also causes a rash on those who come into contact with it, and you need to wear gloves to prevent contact with it. Moreover, it’s crucial to avoid working around creeping fig vines, as they can be a source of irritation.
One reason why fig trees make you itch is the sap. In some hypersensitive individuals, the sap of the unripe fig can irritate the throat, or cause stomach upset. However, the symptom of Phytophotodermatitis, or skin rash, is relatively mild and can be treated at home. Cool washcloths and topical ointments can ease the itching and irritation. Moreover, the natural chemical composition of the sap can lead to severe rashes, and in some cases, even anaphylactic shock.
Can you be allergic to fig trees?
Despite their sweet taste and sour taste, figs can cause allergic reactions in some people. Although figs have been cultivated for thousands of years in the Mediterranean and western Asia, they are also grown in North America, Japan, Australia, South Africa and China. These ephemeral fruits come in both ornamental and rubber-producing varieties. In addition to the sour ripe figs, some figs are also edible and have no allergenic properties.
The fruit of the fig tree develops on a stalk. The fruit grows from the swollen flower. The resulting fruit is pear-shaped and about five centimeters in diameter. Some fig varieties are self-pollinated, while others rely on specialised wasps to produce fruit. The hole in the fig fruit provides easy access for pollinating insects. In addition, fig fruits are susceptible to ripening during the autumn and winter months.
A fig allergy is typically triggered by skin contact with the fruit. Most individuals are allergic to the fruit’s latex, but it is possible to have a delayed reaction to figs. Those with a severe food allergy may also develop angioedema, or asthma after exposure to the fig. The latter is more common in individuals with an already compromised immune system.
How long does fig rash last?
The corresponding author of one study reported that people with fig allergy can have a skin rash for as long as one to two weeks. The plant has a protein called furocoumarins that irritates the skin. The sap of the fig tree is the most potent irritant, and it is the source of the rash. In severe cases, a person may even experience a loss of consciousness.
A 69-year-old woman presented with erythematous patches and bullae on the photo-exposed area of both feet. The patient had previously used a self-prepared remedy that involved soaking her feet in fig leaf decoction water three times daily. After two days, the lesions were still there. The woman’s doctor performed a skin biopsy and discovered she had full epidermal necrolysis, a severe allergic reaction. She was prescribed antihistamines, systemic steroids, and topical creams. After two months, the lesions had completely resolved.
It may be weeks or months, but the rash may not remain permanent. While the rash is not an allergic reaction, it is caused by the reaction of the cells on the surface of the skin. The irritant in the fig sap triggers a chemical reaction in the skin cells. The reaction starts when the irritant damages the lining of the skin cells. The affected cells flake off like a bad sunburn. This type of rash can be caused by several different plants around the world, including meadow grass, carrots, and parsley.