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Is Tomato Foliage a Skin Irritant?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I was tying up my plants on Monday evening & my right arm is INSANELY itchy, to the point where I want to cut it off or burn it so it hurts instead of itches.

It doesn't look like anything (except for the claw marks from my intense scratching.)

Anyone know?
post #2 of 16
Thread Starter 
Just found this:

Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum)

Description: the common tomato grown in gardens.

Toxicity: all plant parts, except ripe fruit, can be skin irritants, and are toxic when eaten, even causing death in children.
post #3 of 16
Yes, I have the same problem. They also leave yellow stains on your white shirts (yeah, I know, who gardens in white? : ) - you won't notice until after you wash them, of course. :

ETA: Apparently the leaves aren't poisonous for deer, though, since they love to munch mine!
post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 
Now I totally remember the yellow all over my hands! I assumed it was from the flowers, pollen, no?

I am SO glad I know what this is from - now, what to do about it? I can't believe it's lasting this long, I wonder when it will go away? I have an aloe plant - I wonder if I should use that....
post #5 of 16
I just wash with soap and water and wait for it to go away. It should be gone by morning.

ETA: WHAT?! It's been three days already. Wow, that's a serious reaction. It never lasts that long for me. I guess some aloe can't hurt. From now on sounds like someone else needs to deal with the tomatoes for you!
post #6 of 16
That is so interesting! My arm broke out the other day after I tied my tomato plant up and I thought I must have been bit by something. I never would have thought the plant made me itchy.
post #7 of 16
Tomato plants make me itch and burn like mad. I usually garden in long sleeves and gloves.
post #8 of 16
Occasionally, I get welt-like scratches on my arms, but it only seems to happen when it's really hot out, and they go away after a couple hours. Be careful--the people I know who get the worst welts and rashes from tomato plants are the same people who are allergic to eating tomatoes.
post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
It's still itchy. I took a shower last night & scrubbed it with Burt's Bees poison ivy soap & then applied hydrocortisone cream. Then I took a benadryl & fell into a deep sleep. I awoke at 2am (*exactly* 4 hours after my 1st does) & was itching again, so I got up & took another benadryl & rubbed on some more hydrocortisone cream.

This morning I slathered some eucalyptus oil on top of the hydrocortisone. This is day 3 of itching, that IS a long time for contact dermatitis, isn't it?

I've often wondered if I'm sensitive to the nightshade family.....how can I not eat tomatoes??!!
post #10 of 16
Are you sure it isn't poison ivy??
post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 
Postive. It doesn't look like anything - just a regular old arm! But it itches like mad! This is ridiculous, it's been 3 days!

I don't know what else to do.....I guess float through the week on benadryl. :
post #12 of 16
Aargh, so frustrating for you. Hope that's what it is, but it might be worth getting tested at this point so you know for sure.

Good to know about this; I often get itchy hands/wrists after gardening and most of what I'm growing is tomatoes...
post #13 of 16
I've used TECNU brand soap(poison oak/ivy soap) to clean my hands after working with tomato plants. I found it helped remove the color and irritants from my skin. HTH.
post #14 of 16
I was wondering about this myself. I always get irritation on my hand where I have eczema (duh). I'm really glad to know about it's toxicity since ds likes to grab leaves and shove them in his mouth while I'm leaning over the plants in the garden. I'll be extra careful to keep him away from the tomatoes.

Re: the itching, this is probably not strong enough if you need benadryl, but what about raw cider vinegar? It's supposed to be pretty good for bug bites and stings. Haven't tried it myself because I haven't had a bad bite or sting and I'm pretty much able to wash the tomato yuck off my hand.
post #15 of 16
I'm allergic to lavender - I get the most horrible hives and they last for weeks. Anyhow, if the itching doesn't clear up soon you may want to talk to your doctor about getting a stronger steroid cream or oral something (antihistimine or steroid). I know how maddening that itching can be - it is HORRIBLE. I was out of work for two weeks last time I had a major run in with lavender.

Hope you feel better soon!
post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 
That's a relief - to hear that your reaction lasts a few weeks. My arm (& ring & middle finger) are STILL itchy - but no sign of hives or a rash, weird.

There were a few leaves at the base of the plants that had yellowed so I broke them off, the fact that I came in contact with the sap could explain the reaction.

I guess it's a little better than it was on Wednesday, that was the worst day so far. I just can't believe that it's still so itchy. I'll spend a lot of time in the pool today - maybe the nasty chlorine will have a soothing affect on it.
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