Leaves scars for life: what poison hogweed looks like and what to do if you have already touched the plant
Hogweed is an extremely dangerous plant that can cause severe burns even if touched once. Under no circumstances should you touch or scratch the affected area. The poisonous substance can be spread throughout the body in this way.
If the mouth or throat is affected, even death is possible. Read what the hogweed poison looks like and what to do if you have already touched the plant in the OBOZREVATEL article.
What is hogweed and where does it grow?
Hogweed has tall stems with characteristic spreading umbels. It usually grows along roads and near water bodies. Hogweed blooms throughout the summer.
Two poisonous species are common in Ukraine:
- Sosnovsky's hogweed
- Mantegazzi's hogweed.
Interestingly, both plants were brought to our lands from the North Caucasus.
Sosnovsky's hogweed was introduced in 1949 and first planted in the Hryshko Botanical Garden in Kyiv. Since the 1960s, it has been actively cultivated throughout Ukraine, including in Zakarpattia. In Soviet times, hogweed was used as a green fertilizer and fodder for livestock. This species grows near rivers, along roads on forest edges, and recently it has even moved to fields and summer cottages.
The Mantegazzi hogweed was introduced a little earlier, in 1927, as an ornamental plant. The hogweed has grown at an impressive rate.
Why hogweed is poisonous
Hogweed sap contains phytoactive compounds. Under the influence of the sun, they acquire toxic properties. That is, when you touch the plant, you will not immediately feel a burn, as, for example, when you come into contact with nettles. It will appear in a few hours or even a few days. Even the slightest sunlight is enough to make the sap poisonous.
First symptoms of poisoning
Burns cause ulcers on the skin. Even after treatment, dark spots remain in their place. Over time, a general deterioration in health and fever begin.
First aid after contact with hogweed
- Cover the affected area to prevent sun exposure.
- Wash the affected areas with water and thick soap suds.
- Treat the skin with alcohol or a weak solution of potassium permanganate.
- Use a burn remedy.
- If blisters appear, do not touch them, scratch them, or try to puncture them, otherwise the infection may spread throughout the body.
- Consult a doctor if the blisters continue to grow.
- Do not touch your face or eyes.
Clothes and shoes that you were wearing when you came into contact with the plant should be machine washed or discarded. When going for a walk in places where hogweed can grow, wear pants and a long-sleeved shirt.
Earlier, OBOZREVATEL told you how to protect yourself from ticks and what to do if you already have a bite.