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A HELPLESS toddler was rushed to the hospital for severe burns and blisters after touching 'Britain's most dangerous plant' for only a few seconds.
Ella, 22 months old, was innocently enjoying a day at the park with her mother when she touched 'giant hogweed'.
The plant began to cause horrific blisters coving her tiny hands.
Her father Philip Ryan, 48 noticed Ella's burns when he picked her up from her mothers the following day, and said her burns were so severe he believed his daughter had been scolded.
He said: "I went to pick my son up at quarter past three and by then she was crying with the pain.
"I've never seen a child so badly burned. It was horrific."
Ryan explained by the second day after touching the giant hogweed, Ella's first major blister appeared and they rapidly multiplied from then on.
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Ella was taken to two hospitals, North Tees and James Cook, but doctors and medics were unable to determine what had caused such injuries.
The tot required intensive treatment, doctors had to burst her blisters, carve away her dead skin, and finally bandaged her hands.
It was Ella's mother, Suzanne Carlin, who eventually found the source of her daughter's injuries, a plant called giant hogweed. The species grows in Burn Valley Park, Hartlepool, County Durham, where the incident happened.
GIANT HOGWEED PLANT
The photo shows a giant hogweed, the ‘most dangerous plant in Britain.’
Common symptoms of giant hogweed poisoning
- Painful blisters that form within 48 hours
- Blisters become dark and pigmented
- Scars that last up to six years, though typically only last a few months
- Long-term sensitivity to sunlight is common
If you come into contact with giant hogweed
- Wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and COLD water as soon as possible
- Keep exposed area away from sunlight for 48 hours
- If a reaction occurs, topical steroids applied early can reduce the severity of the reaction and ease discomfort
- If sap goes in eyes, rinse them with water and wear sunglasses
- If a reaction has occurred, the area of skin may be sensitive to sunlight for a few years and you may want to apply sun cream or keep the affected area covered from the sun when possible
- See a physician if you have a reaction or any questions.
The plant releases a sap that prevents our skin from protecting itself against the sun, leaving it incredibly vulnerable to UV rays.
Mike Duddy, of the Mersey Basin Rivers Trust, said in 2015: "Giant hogweed was without a shadow of a doubt, the most dangerous plant in Britain".
The 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.
The Woodland Trust advises if you are exposed to the plant, you should thoroughly wash the area that made contact and keep it out of sunlight for a few days.
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Dad suffers horrific 3rd degree burns after brushing against toxic Giant Hogweed
Ryan said Suzanne sent him links to pictures of giant hogweed poisoning and he believed they looked similar to his daughter's injuries. He also recognized the plant and came to the conclusion it must have been the cause of Ella's burns.
The concerned father emphasised the danger of this poisonous plant, a toddler only has to brush against it once to cause harm and many young children will not even realize they have come into contact with it.
He warned: "It's very important to let people know. It was quick. Very quick. I'd hate for someone to go through what we're going through – she's in agony with it. It's horrible for her.
"If you see what's happened to my daughter, you would let your children nowhere near it."
A similar incident occurred earlier this year when Chavana Neuweg's six-year-old daughter suffered poisoning from a hemlock plant growing in their garden.
The young child suffered a severe rash and trouble breathing, resulting in a trip to the hospital.
Hartlepool Borough Council has been contacted for comment.
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