Currently, there are about ten herbs in North America that children need to stay away from, and they don’t even include fungi. Instead of learning practical knowledge at school, like how to recognize poisonous plants, children in the U.S. are too busy preparing for tests, something that Finland’s school system don’t have.
One of the most poisonous plants in this area is the giant hogweed. It can reach a height of up to 14 feet, and it’s full with extremely toxic sap.
If you just touch a bit of the sap by breaking a stem accidentally, you will get terrible blisters.
Brushing up against this plant has awful consequences, and the risk of this is big due to its height. It has green, hairy stems, with purple patches.
If the hogweed’s sap comes in contact with your eyes it might cause blindness, or severe blistering and third degree burns on your skin. This is due to the chemical content of the sap, which increases the skin’s sensitivity to light.
The blisters can appear within 48 hours and last from 6 months to 6 years. They are very painful, and if the sap of this toxic plant gets in the eye it can lead to long term sensitivity to light.
What to Do If You or Your Kid Comes in Contact with It
The first thing is to try and avoid getting in contact with this plant, but, if you do touch it somehow, wash the affected area with cold water as soon as possible, and move away from the sun. It’s important to react quickly as the toxins can act within 15 minutes. The next thing to do is apply a safe sunscreen on the skin area that came in contact with the plant or sap.
In case the sap came in contact with your eyes, wash them with water extensively and once again as soon as possible. Then, use sunglasses for protection.
In the past few weeks, Massachusetts and New York issued detailed public warnings about giant hogweed and its severe side effects. There are other states which send out warning, including New Hampshire, Vermont, Ohio, Virginia, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.