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If You See This Plant, Don't Touch It, It Can Cause Burns And Blindness

If You See This Plant, Don't Touch It, It Can Cause Burns And Blindness

We all know the benefits of plants by their depolluting power and their power of purification and renewal of air. In terms of oxygen, plants prove to be the best allies of living beings and can even hold multiple benefits on our physical and psychological health. But some plants can also be toxic and dangerous, hence the usefulness of being able to identify them and prevent their misdeeds.

Giant Hogweed
One of the plants that stands out as especially dangerous in contact with its sap on the skin is the Heracleum Mantegazzianum, more commonly known as Giant Hogweed. It is native to the mountains forests of the western Caucasus (Georgia, Russia, etc.). Its presence has nowadays been widely spread in Europe, but also in North America.

It is an invasive plant species that has been planted for its aesthetic and melliferous virtues and which over time can measure 1.5 to 4 meters in height. It is scattered in the environment and occupies the edge of rivers or roads, meadows and forest edges.

Plant damage and prevention
Giant Hogweed is a phototoxic plant that contains toxic substances that are activated by sunlight.

In case of contact of the sap with the skin, the epidermis becomes extremely sensitive to ultraviolet rays, and exposure of the skin to the sun causes skin lesions called photodermatitis which develop in a few days and can go from the skin to the skin. erythema with severe burn characterized by red, blistered and highly painful skin. Photosensitivity lasts about 48 hours and sequelae such as brown spots and persistent pain can last up to several months or more.

In case of ocular contact by projection of droplets from the sap of the plant, its toxic substances can even lead to blindness.

It is recommended not to touch the stems and leaves of Giant Hogweed without gloves and to have it removed as soon as possible, especially if it is near a children's playground.

What to do in case of skin or eye contact?

In case of contact with the skin, it is strongly recommended to remove the sap as quickly as possible, taking care not to extend it to a larger area. It is also recommended to remove the sap from the skin using a paper towel without rubbing, then wash well with soap, and rinse thoroughly with water. If the clothes have been soaked with the juice of the plant, change them immediately before washing them in a washing machine.

Avoid exposure of the affected area to the sun for at least a week, to ensure the time of the disappearance of the effect of photosensitization.

If the eyes are affected, rinse them as soon as possible with plenty of clean water and then wear sunglasses to reduce their exposure to light.

In all cases, it is formally recommended to consult a doctor as soon as possible or to go directly to the emergency department.