Teen recovering from burns after plant encounter

17 July, 2018, 20:55 | Author: Darnell Taylor
  • Report: Va. Tech Freshman Treated for Giant Hogweed Burns

Health officials have advised North Carolina residents about the presence of a unsafe plant that can cause third-degree burns and blindness.

With the presence of the giant hogweed plant in Virginia, officials asked anyone who spotted one of these plants to file an invasive species report.

"We were working outside a factory and I snipped down a bush and it fell and touched my face", Childress said in a statement.

Childress' mother, a nurse at a local medical center, suspected that his injuries were second to third-degree burns in need of immediate medical attention. "I didn't pay any mind to it because I do it all the time". He told People that when he first got in the shower after landscaping, "big chunks" of skin were falling off his face.

"When I got home I walked inside and Alex, he was like, 'I got really bad sunburn, '" Jason Childress said in a phone interview Thursday. He was transferred to the burn unit at VCU Medical Center. Doing so could "cause the plant's sap to splatter and spread quickly".

He said the samples he had observed were most likely planted over the years, often for decorative or ornamental purposes. "The longer it sits in the sun, the more potent and toxic it gets". "There are certain aspects that are painful like when they clean off dead skin or blisters, that's sore".

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But by the end of the day, his condition had worsened, his father, Justin Childress, told WTVR.

Jordan Metzgar, curator at the Massey Herbarium at Virginia Tech, told the Times-Dispatch that giant hogweed have been spotted around Virginia, adding that the plant was not spreading like in NY and other Northern states. His skin will be sensitive to sunlight for months, causing the teen to worry about entering college in the fall. "I'm hoping that scholarship will still be available for me".

According to North Carolina State University, giant hogweed is a Class "A" North Carolina noxious weed and is only found in Watauga County. Though its white flowers lead to it sometimes being confused with the harmless Cow Parsnip or Queen Anne's lace ― also known as wild carrot ― there are key differences, including the massive size of giant hogweed, which can grow from around 6 to 20 feet tall. They want to ultimately eradicate the plant before it becomes established in the state.

Pretty soon, the family hopped into the auto and rushed Alex to Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center.

A spokeswoman for the hospital said Childress is the first patient to be treated at the burn center for an encounter with Giant Hogweed.

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