A lesson learned through experience is the best kind. Making mistakes is really a huge point in actually succeeding in life, if you think about it. Suffice it to say that if someone is always doing something 100% correctly the first time, they’re either lying or cheating, and you’d better watch out.
Back to the lesson I learned: apparently, jalapeño peppers can burn you. No, not just your mouth; I mean they can actually burn your skin as well, and not even through prolonged exposure.
After work the other night, I decided to make Menemen, which is a sort of Turkish scrambled eggs. On Monday Tyler and I had made some, and it was absolutely divine. I thought I would make an attempt to repeat the process with the available ingredients at my house.
Thus, I chopped up some jalapeño peppers, three, to be exact, and put them into the mix of veggies already cooking on the stove.
Four or five hours later, I started noticing a slight burning sensation in my middle finger on my left hand. I didn’t think much of it, attributing it to my body being strange, not unlike having a random itch.
Then, after I took a shower, I noticed the burning sensation was beginning to spread to my three middle fingers.
I was worried when it wasn’t going away, so I began to look up what these symptoms meant, and one of the first results on Google had to do with jalapeño burns. At least the condition wasn’t more serious.
The burning began to heighten and began to spread over my hand. Thus, I began trying the remedies listed on the website I had found.
First, I tried putting my hand in cool water. That worked, until I took my hand out.
Then, I tried putting my hand in milk. Same story.
Lime juice and water. Same story.
I tried a mixture of baking soda, which seemed to help somewhat. So I waited, and then after a while figured a should wash the baking soda off. Big mistake- the burning hand returned. I tried making a mixture again and repeating the process. No good- it didn’t help at all.
All the while, it was a fearsome experience because my hand showed no sign of anything being wrong with- but it felt like it was on fire.
I had no alcohol, no marijuana, and no kind of mind-altering, pain-numbing substance at my disposal. I felt the pain, full on.
Let’s look at the list of things I actually did to try to soothe my hands, a list of things people suggested, none of which worked for me:
-lime juice and water
-Dawn dish soap
-extra virgin olive oil (Racheal Ray would be proud)
Do you know how desperate I had to be to pee on my own hand? That’s the kind of pain I was enduring!
The most disheartening thing was reading the different remedies and how they worked or people, only to have them not work for me. I wanted to scream at the whole lot of them. What was even weirder was how different techniques worked for different people, but none of them worked for me.
The burning continued until about 7 in the morning, when I took a benadryl, an ibuprofen, and put aloe vera, straight from the plant, on my hand.
That dulled the burning enough that I was able to go to sleep, and when I woke up around 9:30, my hand felt tingly and tender but not on fire.
When I finally got up, the same story was true- I couldn’t really do much with my left hand, but at least it wasn’t on fire.
After applying the aloe vera a few more times, my hand all but returned to normal. Today my left hand feels a little weak, but it’s far better than it was yesterday.
I don’t know if the aloe vera actually helped alone, or if everything I had done helped in its own way, or if I had just waited it all out, but I do know that’s the last time I have anything to do with jalapeño peppers! That kind of pain is not worth it, not even taking the risk of touching peppers.
What’s so strange is that I’ve used jalapeños many times before and never experienced this before. Also, I couldn’t figure out why only my left hand was burning since I touched the peppers with both hands.
Either way, I strongly advise everyone to wear gloves if you do decided to cut peppers and to wash your hands thoroughly after using them, because they can definitely burn you.