NM Poison Center: Use Caution in Handling and Storing Chile Peppers

Green chile season is here and a New Mexican favorite tradition of peeling chile is about to begin.  The New Mexico Poison Center receives many calls from people who suffer from burning fingers and hands after they roast and peel chile peppers with unprotected hands.  Irritating natural chemicals in chile peppers can cause discomfort for people with sensitive skin and extreme pain if contaminated fingers touch the eyes or contact lenses.  This burn can feel like a sunburn, a throbbing and prickling feeling, or a very intense hot pain.

The best way to avoid this problem is by wearing rubber gloves said, Jess Benson, Director of the Poison Center.  But if people forget to wear the gloves or if the glove tears, or if the chiles find some other way to come in contact with the skin, Benson recommends the following treatments.

  • Do not touch your face, eyes, mouth or other parts of the body.

  • Wash your hands or the affected area with soap and water.

  • Call the New Mexico Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 for further assessment and treatment recommendation

The New Mexico Poison Center is a service of the University of New Mexico College of Pharmacy and the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center.

Contact: Angela Heisel, 272-3322

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