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Hogweed wounds: symptoms, treatment and prevention

  1. Coming into contact with hogweed can cause very painful and unsightly wounds. Fortunately, more and more people are aware of the dangers of this plant, but there are still many problems with the hogweed. Especially with children, who have never heard of the plant. What do you need to know about the risks, treatment and prevention of hogweed misery?

Two kinds

  1. There are two types of hogweed: the common hogweed and the giant hogweed. It is especially the second one that is the most dangerous. The common hogweed normally grows to about 90 to 150 cm high. His big brother, however, can grow up to four meters. And that can happen very quickly. In a good spring, the plant can grow meters high in a few months. That is also the reason why you often find these in neglected areas. Because nobody cares about it, the plants are given free rein. Especially when children can come to such places, you should be careful.

Where does the name come from

  1. The hogweed stands out because of its large leaves. These leaves are hairy, as it were. It is also these leaves that give the plant its name. They look a bit like claws. The effect of contact with the plant is also in line with the name: You better stay away from it. When the plant blooms, white flowers appear. The plant normally lives for two years. In the first year it remains quite small. About 50 centimeters. In the following year, the plant can therefore become very large. Then he dies.

Why is the hogweed dangerous?

  1. The hogweed is notorious for the nasty injuries you can get from the plant. Unfortunately, there are still many people who do not know and get hurt as a result. In that sense, the hogweed is also an exception in the Dutch flora. Just touching the leaves of the plant is enough to sustain painful injuries. Something that we are not used to in the nature around us and therefore often goes wrong. The plant itself is not poisonous, but the juice has a phototoxic effect. This means that the skin becomes very sensitive to sunlight after contact with the juice.

Real burns and swelling

  1. If you come into contact with your skin with the sap of the hogweed, it can cause ugly and painful wounds. This is due to the so-called furocoumarins that it contains. This juice makes your skin extremely sensitive to sunlight. That is so bad that you get burns from the sunlight. This also means that the injuries will be much worse in sunny weather than in cloudy or even rainy weather. If you ever come into contact with the hogweed, it is therefore also useful to cover those parts of your skin directly from the sun.

The consequences of the injuries

  1. The annoying thing about the hogweed is that it quickly takes 24 hours before you start having the first problem. These are red burning spots on the places where you have been in contact with the plant. After a few hours, the spots will become more painful and swell or even blister. The skin is inflamed and the wounds will be clearly delineated. Then it takes a relatively long time before you are healed again. And it often happens that grayish pigmentation spots remain. These pigmentation spots can remain visible for years.

How do you treat a hogweed wound?

  1. The best treatment is that you wash the skin immediately, where there has been contact with the plant. Do not be too frugal with this and be sure to be on the safe side. You can simply do that washing with soap and water. In addition, you should also avoid contact with direct sunlight for a week. Once you have the dreaded blisters and burns, treat them as if they were ordinary burns. You can use the well-known burn ointment for this and bandage the wounds. And when in doubt, just consult your doctor. If your eyes have come into contact, you should rinse your eyes a lot.

Prevention of wounds

  1. Prevention is better than cure and that certainly applies to the injuries you can sustain from a hogweed. If you are going to do yard work near a hogweed, make sure you are properly dressed. Make sure all skin is well covered and proceed very carefully. You prefer to protect your eyes with safety goggles.

Children and the Hogweed

  1. Children still have to learn everything, so that's where it often goes wrong with the hogweed. In addition, most children are adventurous and often look for the craziest places. Pieces of no man's land with lots of vegetation are then eminently interesting. Unfortunately you often find this dangerous plant there too. That is why it is important to familiarize your children with the plant. Fortunately, the appearance is easily recognizable. Make sure your kids know the plant and avoid touching it. This can prevent a lot of trouble.

Tidy is neat

  1. If you know where to find hogweed somewhere in the neighborhood, see if there is nothing you can do about it. Remove the plant or have it removed. For example, by the municipality, when it is on municipal land. If the plant is on someone else's property and that place is easily accessible, you can kindly ask whether the plants can be removed there.

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