Bartender Justin Fehntrich learned the hard way just how dangerous squeezing limes in direct sunlight can be.
Fehntrich and another bartender were working at a fundraiser for an LGBT-advocacy nonprofit and were tasked with squeezing four bags of limes into pitchers for cocktails, The Atlantic detailed.
“That was a huge mistake,” Fehntrich said. He found himself in the hospital with second-degree burns just days after the event. His hand was covered in blisters, and though he thought it could have been poison oak, he found out later that it was phytophotodermatitis, which is also known as lime disease.
The juice and oil of limes contain photosensitizers, which makes human skin extra sensitive to sunlight, and when an affected spot is overexposed, it burns.
Phytophotodermatitis is so rare that it is often mistaken for other skin conditions, which can deter proper treatment.
Jason Foust, Midwest regional vice president of the U.S. Bartenders’ Guild, thinks that despite its rarity, phytophotodermatitis should be recognized as a real hazard for bartenders. “Today there is a big commitment to using fresh juices, and that means squeezing more limes so there is more risk,” Foust said. “So, it should be a bigger part of discussions.”