Growing up in the mountains, my family and I were outside all the time. Whether it was driving deep into the woods to camp and fish or simply going for day hikes through all of the beautiful mountains that surround the area.
We were always taught to avoid certain plants and trees because some were “poisonous” (like poison oak or ivy) and some just had annoying properties, like little spiky things that stick to your socks, or sap that gets literally everywhere.
And while there are really only about 10 plants or so that North Americans need to worry about, there is one that can be particularly harmful to both adults and kids.
This plant is called Hogweed, and it’s part of the carrot family. It can reach heights of up to fourteen feet tall and it is absolutely packed with venomous sap. Much like other poisonous plants, if you touch them in any way, even only slightly, you are likely to develop some sort of rash or outbreak on the skin.
With Hogweed, however, even slight touches can result in horrifying symptoms, like giant blisters and third-degree burns.
Ask a Prepper says, “If you come into contact with the plant’s sap you can expect severe blistering, possible blindness if it comes into contact with your eyes and possible third degree burns. These effects come from the type of chemicals that it contains.”
To identify the plant, look for the height of the stalk, as it was mentioned before to be upwards of 14 feet, then look for green stems with purple splotches that are covered with white ‘hairs’.
If you or your child do come in contact with one of these plants, immediately take measures to wash the afflicted area with cold water. Do this as quickly as possible as the chemical reaction occurs quickly, usually within 15 minutes.
Also, try to limit your exposure to the sun, and apply sunscreen to the area once it has been washed. If you get it in your eyes, flush immediately and thoroughly with water, and have sunglasses on hand for protection from light exposure.