Combination of citrus, sun leaves local girl with burns

KEIZER, Ore. - An 18-month-old girl spent three days in the hospital while doctors figured out what caused blistering burns on her.

Maddison is doing better after being treated for phytophotodermatitis, which was caused when some kind of citrus got on her and then she went out into the sun.

Three months ago blackish, brown burns and blisters covered her side and arms.

"(The doctors) were asking if there was any family history of cancer skin disease or bone disorders," her mother, Sara Lidtke said Friday. "So I was trying not to think the worst."

It turned out to be something that Sara never saw coming.

Phytophotodermatitis was an odd-sounding diagnosis that meant something citrus probably got on Maddison's skin and then, when she went into the sun it seared and burned her skin. Sara wondered if there was something she didn't know about in the yard.

But the only thing it could be turned out to be the citrus in an air spray Sara had used as a room freshener.

She had no idea, and now is a little nervous to let her daughter adventure out and get hurt again.

"I'm just really glad and relieved she's starting to get better," Sara said.

And even though it was cloudy that day when Maddison went outside, the UV rays were strong enough to cause the burning. Those burn marks will take about 6 to 12 months to fade.

Doctors say the condition is more common than people may think.

Five girls in Fresno, Calif. were burned recently when they got lime juice on them and stood in the sun. The juice photosynthesized on their skin.

Sunscreen and washing the skin before going out can help prevent the reaction.

Sara contacted us after seeing our report on those little girls in California with burns. If you have a story for us, email us at