I learned a very valuable lesson that I will never, ever forget in my life, ever. Wear gloves when you deal with jalapenos or any hot pepper.
There I was, as ignorant as I could be, de-seeding jalapenos to make some jalapeno poppers. The music was going, Andrew and I were dancing as we were waiting for the rest of the meal to be cooked. I thought to myself, “These jalapenos are going to be good because I’m going to make sure I get every last seed out. That way, my mouth will not be on fire when I take a bite.”
I popped the poppers in the oven and within about 3 minutes, my left index finger and thumb started tingling. I got a little worried because I wasn’t sure what was going on. Before I knew it all of my fingers on my left hand and a few on my right hand were starting to get a burning sensation.
So, I did what any person who was experiencing a strange symptom and had no idea what it was coming from. I went to the all trusted Google. When I typed in my symptom, I got a bunch of sites with long threads discussing the bizarre burning pain. What I found was the burning sensation was due to the active ingredient in jalapenos called capsaicin. Capsaicin is what produces the “hot” in hot peppers (fire hot, by the way).
When capsaicin comes in contact with our skin it can cause serious burning reactions (like, your hand is literally on fire burning reactions). What’s even worse, people have gotten it in their eyes and on their genitals because they didn’t realize they had the ingredient on their hands. Yikes, I can’t even imagine how it would be if I got it in my eye or on my private area as a matter of fact.
By the time dinner was over (I ate one handed because my other hand was clenching a frozen bag of peas) my left hand was vigorously getting hot.
I went to Google again and looked for any kind of cure or remedy because the pain was becoming seriously intense. I’m surprised there weren’t flames coming out of my finger tips, they were so hot. Probably on a scale of 1-10, at its worst, 9.5. It stayed a consistent 7-9.5 the whole time.
I’ll give you a list (in order) of what I found online and tried to help cure my fire hot hands.
- I squeezed fresh lemon juice on my fingers. The pain went away for about 10 seconds and came back.
- I dunked my fingers in sour cream to cool them down. This helped for about the same amount of time as the first then came back.
- I poured whole milk over them. Relief for a maximum of 15 seconds.
- I let my hand run under hot water (which, let me tell you, was one of the most painful things I’ve ever done! I felt like my hand was being scorched and the pain shot up my arm), scrubbed with soap, rinsed then doused with olive oil. I repeated this 3 other times and it seemed like the pain came back 3 fold.
- I made a baking soda paste and covered my finger tips. This was the only thing I did out of all that actually seemed like it helped a little. But of course, the pain came back. I tried covering it with the baking soda paste 2 other times but it didn’t help.
- I made a scrub with sugar and olive oil and rubbed it on my finger tips. Ouch, it made it worse.
- I poured white vinegar over my hands. No relief, pain grew.
- I poured rubbing alcohol over my fingers. Again, no relief.
- I tried scrubbing my fingers again with hot water and still they were on fire.
- I dunked them in yogurt and tried to sit with my fingers in there but couldn’t handle more than 5 minutes because the pain was coming back with a vengeance.
By this time, my hands had been burning for about 2.5 hours. It was getting late and I was getting tired and frustrated. I was starting to acknowledge that I was one of the unlucky, less fortunate ones to actually experience relief. I almost considered peeing on my hand to see if that would help but I decided against it. I accepted the fact that I was going to have to endure the pain until it went away…ugh.
It was miserable. My hands literally felt like they were on fire. My empathy goes out to any burn victim.
I ended up taking 2 tylenol (which I NEVER do) and bringing my trusted bag of peas with me in bed. Luckily, I was able to fall asleep holding the peas and slept uninterrupted the whole night. When I woke this morning, my fingers were back to normal.
The moral of the story is to always wear gloves when you are handling any type of hot pepper. It’s one of those mistakes you may experience once in your life (but hopefully not after reading this) but will make sure you never experience it again.
Also, some food for thought. If you skin is that sensitive and absorptive, think about all the chemicals and toxins your skin is absorbing when you apply conventional type lotions, sunscreens, deodorants, shampoos, fragrances, etc. Scary, huh? Check out this list of harmful ingredients that may be lurking in your personal care items.
Until next time,
Loriel – Healthy Roots, Happy Soul