This dangerous skin-melting plant is sweeping the world

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Invasive Weed Causes Blisters and Scars


Moments after gathering a giant hogweed plant with her bare hands, 10-year-old Lauren Fuller's hands began to melt as she suffered third-degree burns. The girl may now need skin grafts.

Fuller was on a fishing trip with her father when she snatched up the poisonous weed. Within 24 hours she had red burns all over her hands and cheeks.
Fuller isn't the first person to suffer from giant hogweeds. Daily Star reported that three young children received serious burns after coming into contact with the plant at country parks.

The plant poses danger due to its photo-sensitising furancourmarins. The chemical prevents the body from protecting itself from UV light. Essentially, the plant makes bodies susceptible to intense sunburns and blisters.

From just one touch of the dangerous plant, one's skin can remain sensitive to light for up to seven years. The plant currently poses a safety threat to young children as it typically thrives in June and July.

Fuller's dad, Russell, said:

"They put these little gloves on her to cover the blisters and when they took them off a couple of hours later her skin had completely melted. Lauren is a tough little cookie but she was crying a lot. She was in a lot of pain and she was really worried about what we going to happen to her hands."

Russell went on to say:

"I want other people to know that this plant is out there and to be aware of how dangerous it is. What happened to Lauren was terrifying and I would honestly really hate for any other parent to go through what Charlotte and I have gone through. We had no idea what was going on and the hospital didn't either. We had to use Google to diagnose Lauren's symptoms ourselves and the specialist said she hadn't seen anything like it for 20 years."


The children who have recently come into contact with the poisonous plant reside in Loch Lomond, Scotland and Manchester, England.



Pictures of the giant hogweeds:
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Giant Hogweed plant
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This dangerous skin-melting plant is sweeping the world
giant hogweed heracleum...
A spent flower head covered with seeds of the giant hogweed plant is seen in Hanover, N.H., Friday July 31, 2004. Triggered by light, a toxin in hogweed sap attacks human skin, causing swelling, burns, blisters and permanent, purplish scars, and is probably the most dangerous plant in the state. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
** ADVANCE FOR SUNDAY JULY 13 ** Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture agent Michael Zeller shows a section of leaves from a giant hogweed plant cut down on a farm in McKean, Pa., Erie County, on Wednesday, July 9, 2003. Hogweed can be dangerous to people. Its sap causes a change in human skin, effectively making it a capacitor for the sun's energy. Exposure to sunlight causes blisters. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
** ADVANCE FOR SUNDAY JULY 13 ** Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture agent Michael Zeller stands beside a flowering a giant hogweed plant before cutting it down and spraying it on a farm in McKean, Pa., Erie County, on Wednesday, July 9, 2003. Hogweed can be dangerous to people. Its sap causes a change in human skin, effectively making it a capacitor for the sun's energy. Exposure to sunlight causes blisters. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
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