A man who was burnt by Britain’s most dangerous plant has issued a warning after suffering horrific injuries after just brushing against it. Martyn Ferguson, 57, from Aberdeenshire, Scotland, has been treating Hogweed for the past six years.
Mr Ferguson said a momentary loss of concentration left him with a blistered arm after he was exposed to giant hogweed.
He told the Mirror: “We had been treating giant hogweed for the previous five or six weeks prior to being burnt. I was burnt due to me being careless, on the very last day and hour of the season.
“While removing my protective coveralls, I must have rubbed sap on my bare arm – it’s the only time I’ve been burnt in six years whilst treating giant hogweed.
“I was unaware I’d managed to get sap on my arm – it reacts to sunlight and it was several hours before I started to experience symptoms.”
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The giant hogweed’s sap stops the skin from protecting itself against the sun, leading to gruesome burns when exposed to natural light.
The problem is that the pain is not immediate. As a result, the burn could be exposed to sunlight for an extended period of time without any signs or symptoms.
Mr Ferguson added: “Prior to the blistering, my arm was warm going to hot, and incredibly itchy. The skin appeared very red, then started to blister – it came up in large liquid-filled blisters which eventually burst. After they burst, I treated the open wounds with antiseptic cream – they took several weeks to heal properly.”
Fortunately, Mr Ferguson knew how to treat the wound, but admitted his injuries were only mild in comparison.
He warned: “In bad cases, even after a burn has healed you need to protect the wound site from sunlight as your skin can re-blister.
“If you come across any giant hogweed plants, unless you know what you’re doing and have the correct PPE, leave it well alone.”