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Giant Hogweed

 Just The Facts
What is Giant Hogweed

Giant Hogweed is an invasive perennial known for its enormous size.  Its stem and the undersides of its leaves are covered in course hairs.  The seeds of Giant Hogweed are flattened and oval in shape.  The plant produces a clear, toxic watery sap that causes a skin reaction known as photodermatitis.

Why is it noxious?  Symptoms.
Its watery, clear sap contains photosensitizing compounds, which, when in contact with the skin and in combination with UV radiation, can cause dermatitis in sensitive individuals.  The symptoms may range from skin inflammation to serious blisters and scars.
How do you treat exposure?
First prevent exposure by wearing gloves, protective clothing and protective eyewear when working with the plant(s).  Cutaneous surfaces exposed to sap should be washed extensively with water.  Further exposure of the affected skin to UV/Sunlight should be avoided.  If photo dermatitis occurs, medical consultation should be sought.
If there has been direct exposure to the eye (cornea), flushing the eye with water is immediately required and the individual should seek medical evaluation and treatment on an urgent basis. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please call the Health Information Line at the
Brant County Health Unit 519-753-4937 extension 259

Last Updated ( Monday, 26 July 2010 )