Giant hogweed - a dangerous, invasive weed - recently began spreading across New York, sparking fear and warnings from the state's Department of Environmental Conservation. They say the plant can burn, scar, and even blind you.
According to the DEC, the toxic plant grows in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, Oregon, Washington, Michigan, Virginia, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. If you know anyone on these states, tag them in the comments.
#Gianthogweed sap contains toxic chemicals known as photosensitizing furanocoumarins. When these chemicals come into contact with the human skin, it can cause a skin reaction that's extremely sensitive to light.
The light-sensitive skin reaction causes dark painful blisters that form within 48 hours, and result in scars that can last anywhere from a few months to six years. Touching giant hogweed can also cause long-term sunlight sensitivity, and blindness if sap gets into a person's eye.
Obviously you want to avoid it in the first place but what if you happen to come in contact with giant hogweed?
Immediately wash the affected area with cold water. Make haste because the toxic reaction may begin within only 15 minutes and make sure you get out of the sun!
Apply a safe, non toxic sunscreen on the effected area ASAP.
In the unfortunate event that the sap comes in contact with your eyes, immediately flush with water extensively. Then be sure to wear sunglasses for protection! #uglybynature