Saturday, July 16, 2016

WHY IS GIANT HOGWEED DANGEROUS?

Plant that can cause third-degree burns in Canada



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Hogweed: Plant that can cause third-degree burns in Canada







Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter
Officials in both Canada and the U.S. are warning residents not to touch giant hogweed plants, which have been popping up in large numbers in both countries. 
This year, the plant made an appearance in eastern Ontario for the first time. It's also expected to spread into Manitoba, along with the rest of the country.

WHY IS GIANT HOGWEED DANGEROUS?

When combined with sunlight, sap from the plants can cause extreme skin irritation, temporary or permanent blindness and scarring.
Burns acquired from the plant can continue to cause painful blisters when exposed to sunlight for up to a decade.
According to weather.com, there have been several reports of children in the U.S. and the U.K. suffering from severe burns following interactions with the plant, which blooms in mid-August.
While reports in Canada have been minimal, a woman in Renfrew, Ontario was told last summer she would have to avoid direct sunlight for three years after being badly burned by wild parsnip, a close relative of giant hogweed. 
Wild parsnip looks similar, but is smaller and has yellow flowers.


Though not native to Canada, giant hogweed appears to be doing well in Canada's various climates.
It can grow up to two metres in height and looks like a gigantic version of Queen Anne's lace.
Health officials have called the invasive species a 'public health hazard'.
Should you come into contact with the plant, wash the area thoroughly with soap and water and avoid sunlight for 48 hours.
If you think you have been burned by giant hogweed, see a physician immediately.
Giant hogweed sightings can be reported to the Ministry of Natural Resources.
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