Five-Year-Old Girl Left With Severe Blisters After Brush With Giant Hogweed
Rebecca Barnes appeared on ITV News to talk about how her two children required hospital treatment after coming into contact with the poisonous giant hogweed.
It's considered one of the most dangerous plants in Britain, and can grow to more than 20 feet tall.
Barnes' seven-year-old son Reggie and five-year-old daughter Roma had to be taken to Salisbury District Hospital after they encountered the giant hogweed when playing outside.
Roma was left with horrific blisters, but if either had got the plant in their eyes, they could have been left permanently blinded.
Kids might run into the plant whilst playing outside, and because it is hollow, it makes an excellent improvised plaything.
However, the sap is incredibly harmful, and could leave children with scars, blisters, or worse.
Toxic sap within the plant is known to react with sunlight which causes chemical burns on the skin. Rebecca first got wind of the situation when she noticed that Roma's skin was red, but her condition deteriorated after a day spent in the sunshine.
Now, she wants to increase awareness amongst other parents of what the plant is capable of.
She explained: "It's not commonly warned about which I think it needs to be.
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"On public footpaths there needs to be pictures of it, because if the sap gets into your eyes it can cause permanent blindness."
Roma was the child most affected by her brush with the plant, and now will have to keep bandages on her arms and legs for several months, but perhaps even years.
Her mum continued: "For at least six months, but up to seven years as sun protection won't be enough.
"I'm just praying that the scarring isn't left because it can obviously leave really bad scars."
The giant hogweed is particularly bad this year because it is flourishing, according to Guy Barter from the Royal Horticultural Society.
Barter told The Sun: "It likes damp soil, it likes riparian areas next to rivers and of course this winter we had an awful lot of rain - one of the wettest winters on record."
"Rivers were high, that picked up the seeds and fragments of plants and spread them out along water courses."
An expert from the Rivers Trust also said: "It is, without a shadow of a doubt, the most dangerous plant in Britain."
Featured Image Credit: PA
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