A mother has issued a warning after her seven-year-old son’s hand blew up “like a balloon” and suffered second-degree chemical burns – from picking LIMES.
Little Camron Suilla was left with traumatic injuries after a day spent picking oranges and limes with his little sister during a family holiday to Disneyland.
The schoolboy had no symptoms at first, but three days later he complained to mother Janelle Suilla, 32, that his right hand was stinging.
She dismissed it at first but rushed him to hospital the following night when his hand swelled up “like a balloon”.
Medics diagnosed the youngster with the skin condition Phytophotodermatitis, which is caused by a reaction between the juice from citrus fruits and sunlight.
The little-known condition, which is most commonly triggered by limes, can lead to blistering, stinging and raw burning flesh.
Janelle said her son’s hand is still “severely burnt” after the reaction earlier this month, which also left him suffering a painful rash on his torso.
The photographer and part-time teaching assistant, of Hollister, California, said: “He was having such a good time picking fruit – it seemed like a harmless and fun thing to do.
“His hand was so huge. It was a balloon.
“You never want to see your child in pain. I broke down in tears.“
Camron suffered the injuries during a vacation to Disneyland in California with Janelle, his dad Jonathan, 31, a sheriff, and his little sister McKenna, four.
The family had arrived at the Orangeland RV Park in Orange, California, on September 3 and as mom and dad set up camp that afternoon, the kids went fruit picking.
Janelle said: “When we arrived at the camping ground, we noticed that there were tonnes of citrus trees nearby which were really pretty.
“Most of the fruit on the trees was ripe, and right away the kids asked could they pick it.
“They had a fun day picking fruit while we were setting up camp. Afterword, they put the fruit on the picnic table and started playing with it.
“They had never had a grapefruit before, so I cut the grapefruit open so they could try it.
“They only had a couple of bites each, and they were squeezing the fresh limes into their water.
“Kids get messy when they eat, so the juice was dripping everywhere.
“It was a warm day, so my son only had his shorts on. He was getting a lot of sun.”
Over the next few days, the family rode roller coasters at Disneyland and enjoyed dips in the campsite swimming pool.
Three days later, on Thursday, little Camron complained that his hands were stinging.
“I checked it out, and there wasn’t anything visible at all,” Janelle said.
The following evening, after a final visit to Disneyland, the pain persisted in the seven-year old’s hand.
“This time it looked a little puffy, and I wondered had he maybe been stung by a bee.
“I gave him some Benadryl in case it was a bee sting and rubbed some aloe vera on his hand before bed.
“The next day we woke up and his hand was suddenly like a balloon, it was so big.
“He had this huge blistered rash all over his torso. At that point I knew something was wrong.
“I was thinking back to the last few days and the only things the kids did differently this time was the fruit picking.”
Janelle rushed Camron to Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital, where medics diagnosed him with Phytophotodermatitis, gave him a steroid shot and prescribed antibiotics.
By the following morning, his hand had puffed up even more and his fingers were covered in blisters.
In the weeks that followed, Camron’s skin peeled to reveal new, raw skin underneath. He is still unable to bend his fingers.
The youngster’s little sister McKenna experienced slight burning on two fingers but it wasn’t as severe as her brother’s, whose skin is more fair.
Janelle said: “In the beginning he was freaked out and in a lot of pain, but he’s toughed it out though and been really brave.
“He is doing a lot better now, though the skin on his hand is still pink and red, and I don’t know if it’s ever going to go back to normal.
“I was so upset. I felt guilty, but I suppose hindsight is 20 20. I should have put it together at the time.
“It seemed harmless. Our minds were blown.
“Since then, I’m making it a point to spread awareness of the dangers of it.
“Every family should know to be careful handling citrus fruits in the sun.”