Giant hogweed is a poisonous exotic plant. The sap of giant hogweed contains toxins that are activated by light (natural or artificial UV rays). Contact with giant hogweed sap, combined with exposure to light, causes pain and skin lesions similar to burns.
Painful and sometimes serious lesions may appear up to 48 hours after skin comes into contact with giant hogweed sap. Lesions are characterized by:
All parts of the body can be affected by sap toxins and light. However, the following parts are especially vulnerable:
You should see a doctor if:
First-degree burns are superficial and generally do not require specific treatment. If you have pain:
If you have second-degree burns with blisters, contact Info-Santé 811 to obtain further information on treatment of burns. You can also see your doctor for a prescription of appropriate treatment.
Lesions take about a week to heal. Then scars or dark spots may appear on the skin and remain visible for several years.
The affected area may also remain sensitive to light for several months.
For further information on ways to identify and handle giant hogweed, read Identifying and Getting Rid of Giant Hogweed.
Some people are more at risk of coming into contact with giant hogweed sap. They include:
People often come into contact with giant hogweed sap during outdoor activities such as gardening and hiking. Sap can also stick to animal fur, especially dogs, who can then directly contaminate people who touch them.
Last update: May 31, 2016 1:31 PM
The information on this website by no means replaces the advice of a health professional. If you have questions regarding your health, contact Info-Santé 811 or see a health professional.