‘HOGWEED BURNT MY GIRL’S HANDS’

Wales On Sunday - - NEWS - WILL HAY­WARD Re­porter will.hay­ward@waleson­line.co.uk

A MUM from New­port is warn­ing other par­ents after her daugh­ter suf­fered chem­i­cal burns caused by a com­mon Bri­tish weed.

Two-year-old Lexi Buchanan was out walk­ing with mum Jamie and their dog when she came into con­tact with gi­ant hogweed, dubbed Bri­tain’s most dan­ger­ous plant.

Jamie, 24, from Maes­glas Cres­cent, New­port, said: “We went over to the river to walk the dog like we nor­mally do.

“The next day she went to play­group and they asked if she had a burn.”

Lexi’s hands had de­vel­oped a painful­look­ing red blis­ter.

“When we took her to hospi­tal the next morn­ing the doc­tors said she had touched hogweed. She was not us­ing her hand very much and was feel­ing a bit sorry for her­self.”

Jamie is now try­ing to let other par­ents know of the dan­gers. She said: “It can cause blind­ness and the scars can last for up to six years.

“I wasn’t aware it could cause so much dam­age. Luck­ily, it was only Lexi’s hand.

“I want to make other people aware. It is ac­tu­ally like a burn and that is what I thought it was ini­tially.

“It has only been three or four days. Day one it looked like a burn with a blis­ter on top of it. Then the blis­ter popped and it went a dark colour.

“She must have just grabbed it, any part of the plant can cause the burn. A man from the coun­cil said it can grow any­where but is more likely in moist ar­eas. Now I know the dan­gers I will be keep­ing an eye out for it. If a child fell face first into it they could go blind.”

Gi­ant hogweed is a highly in­va­sive plant which is dan­ger­ous to hu­mans,, but there are ways to stay safe from it if you know what to look out for.

Part of the car­rot fam­ily, the gi­ant hogweed looks pretty, but is dan­ger­ous when brushed by hu­man skin.

Its sap is toxic and con­tains chem­i­cals known as fu­ra­nocoumarins.

When th­ese come into con­tact with the skin, and the skin comes into con­tact with UV light, th­ese chem­i­cals lead to a con­di­tion called phy­topho­to­der­mati­tis – a red rash, of­ten fol­lowed by se­vere burns and blis­ter­ing within 24 hours.

If you come into con­tact with gi­ant hogweed, the NHS ad­vises cov­er­ing the af­fected area and wash­ing it with soap and wa­ter.

If you be­gin to feel un­well after con­tact with gi­ant hogweed, you should speak to your doc­tor.

The sap of gi­ant hogweed is a painful ir­ri­tant

The burns on Lexi Buchanan’s hand after she touched gi­ant hogweed

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