Home Health The 20-year-old waitress was left with third-degree burns and blisters and assumed it was because she had tanned on a sun lounger… in fact, it was a reaction to ‘Britain’s most dangerous plant’

The 20-year-old waitress was left with third-degree burns and blisters and assumed it was because she had tanned on a sun lounger… in fact, it was a reaction to ‘Britain’s most dangerous plant’

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Chloe Douglas from Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, woke up one morning with a red rash on her hands and neck, after tanning on a sun lounger the night before.

A waitress suffered third-degree burns and painful blisters “the size of grapes” after an encounter with “Britain’s most dangerous plant”.

Chloe Douglas from Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, woke up one morning with a red rash on her hands and neck, after using a sun lounger the night before.

The 20-year-old could not remember ever encountering the dreaded giant hogweed and assumed she had simply been “unlucky” and had reacted with “prickly heat” after her tanning session.

However, the red rash turned into unpleasant, painful blisters as the day progressed and she went to seek medical help.

When he went to urgent care, doctors revealed that giant hogweed was the possible cause of his third-degree burns.

Chloe Douglas from Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, woke up one morning with a red rash on her hands and neck, after tanning on a sun lounger the night before.

He couldn't remember ever encountering the dreaded giant hogweed and assumed it had had a bad reaction to a lounge chair.

He couldn’t remember ever encountering the dreaded giant hogweed and assumed it had had a bad reaction to a lounge chair.

The sap of giant hogweed (pictured) contains toxic chemicals known as photosensitizing furanocoumarins, which react with light when they come into contact with human skin and cause blisters within 48 hours.

The sap of giant hogweed (pictured) contains toxic chemicals known as photosensitizing furanocoumarins, which react with light when they come into contact with human skin and cause blisters within 48 hours.

The giant hogweed sap prevents the skin from protecting itself against the sun, causing horrible burns when exposed to daylight.

It often causes no immediate pain and its victims can continue to burn in the sun without a care in the world.

What’s more, the plant can spread its sap with just a moment of exposure.

GIANT HOGWEED: THE DANGERS

Giant hogweed sap contains toxic chemicals known as photosensitizing furanocoumarins, which react with light when they come into contact with human skin and cause blisters within 48 hours.

Indeed, the toxic sap prevents the skin from protecting itself from sunlight, which can cause very serious sunburns and scars.

If accidentally rubbed into the eyes, the sap can cause temporary or even permanent blindness.

Anyone who comes into contact with the herb is recommended to cover the affected area, to prevent the sap from reacting with sunlight, and wash it with soap and water.

The NHS advises anyone who has been exposed to Giant Hogweed sap to immediately wash the affected area with cold water and soap. If you do not feel well you should consult your doctor.

“After work, I lay on the chaise lounge for five minutes, which I assume was the exposure necessary for burns to occur,” he said.

He added: “That night I was fine, however I woke up the next day and my hands and neck were covered in red rashes.

“I laughed and assumed I had been unlucky and had just gotten an itch from the sun lounger.

“But as the day went on, my right hand started to burn and eventually blister in these spots, I would say the size of grapes.”

Doctors at the urgent care center confirmed they were third-degree burns, burst Miss Douglas’s blisters and bandaged her wounds, but three weeks later, she is still paying the price.

She said: ‘I have scars that have lasted three weeks and show no signs of fading.

‘Recovery was extremely painful, my hand constantly hurt and I had to bandage it due to the open wound where the blisters had burst.

‘I had to take a few days off simply because I felt really unwell after having treatment; It took me over a week and a half to get back to normal.

“However, my hands still have scars and I assume they will remain so in the future.”

The red rash turned into nasty, painful blisters as the day progressed and she went to seek medical help.

The red rash turned into nasty, painful blisters as the day progressed and she went to seek medical help.

Three weeks after doctors burst her blisters, she is still paying the price and urging others to stay away from the toxic plant.

Three weeks after doctors burst her blisters, she is still paying the price and urging others to stay away from the toxic plant.

Miss Douglas is now urging others to stay away from giant hogweed.

She said: ‘Familiarize yourself with what the plant looks like to ensure that if you see it, you avoid it at all costs.’

“Make sure you wash your hands constantly and use sunscreen.”

Giant hogweed is native to the Caucasus, but was introduced to Britain as an ornamental plant in 1817 and its spread has now gotten out of control.

Mike Duddy of the Mersey Basin Rivers Trust called it “without a doubt the most dangerous plant in Britain” in 2015.

What is giant hogweed?

'Britain's most dangerous plant': Giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum), found throughout the country, looks harmless enough but can cause life-changing injuries.

‘Britain’s most dangerous plant’: Giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum), found throughout the country, looks harmless enough but can cause life-changing injuries.

Giant hogweed is a non-native species in the UK.

It was first introduced to the UK as an ornamental plant in the 19th century after being discovered in the Caucasus Mountains and Central Asia.

The plant escaped and became naturalized in the wild and can now be found across much of the UK, especially on river banks, as its seeds are carried by water.

It has been spreading uncontrollably across Scotland for decades, producing up to 50,000 seeds that can survive for many years.

But the sap of the herb, which looks like a giant version of the harmless cow parsley plant, is extremely toxic to humans and animals, causing horrible skin burns.

The skin remains sensitive to ultraviolet light for many years and can even cause blindness if it is close to the eyes.

Every year, thousands of people, including children and pets, suffer life-changing injuries from Giant Hogweed after accidentally coming into contact with it in the wild.

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