Lauren Fuller and her family are from Bristol and are on vacation at a beautiful lake. One morning, the 10-year-old goes on a fishing trip with her dad. While walking along the riverbed she touches a plant in passing. She doesn’t know that she has caused a catastrophe that will come 3 days later.
“She was absolutely fine on the Sunday, she thought nothing of it,” her father Russell remembers. “But on Monday her hands were red raw and by the Tuesday she had big blisters!” When the girl woke up on the next day, her hands were covered in huge blisters.
The doctors hadn’t seen a case this bad for about 20 years: Laura hurt herself by touching a plant named “giant hogweed.” As soon as the plant’s poison - which has actually made its way to the U.S., despite being illegal to import - touches human skin it destroys the body’s natural sun protection. This causes severe and painful burns after a couple days. Unfortunately children often get excited when they see the almost 10-foot-tall plant and like to touch it or hide under it.
Lauren’s hands were taped up with gauze at first so the blisters could be opened later. “She is very brave, but she did cry a lot,” her father tells. “She had unbelievable pain and was worried about what would happen with her hands.”
In the meantime, Lauren’s hands have healed. She will, however, need to undergo a skin transplant. But after the huge shock and the painful experience, the 10-year-old will now pay a bit more attention while going on countryside strolls.
This is how you can recognize this dangerous plant:
- Up to 10 feet tall (3 meters) with a hairy stem.
- Up to 3-foot-big, 5-limbed leaves.
- All parts of the plant are poisonous when touched so make sure you protect any affected spots from the sun and wash it off!
The poor Lauren had to experience firsthand how dangerous even the plant world can be. To protect children from this dangerous plant, share these alarming photos and these identification tips with everyone you know!
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