A 10-year-old girl went fishing with her father, only to return home terrified and in agony when her skin nearly melted off.
Lauren Fuller was reportedly on a fishing trip with her father when she, at one point, picked up a hogweed plant from the ground. Her hands soon began to turn red and later started to blister severely, LiftBump reported.
“She was absolutely fine on the Sunday, she thought nothing of it. But on Monday her hands were red raw and by the Tuesday she had big blisters,” her parents, Russell and Charlotte, told Hello.
A visit to the hospital proved barely helpful, with the doctor giving a misdiagnosis of sunburn. After doing research online, Fuller’s parents discovered the real cause of her devastating condition — a toxic sap found inside of the hogweed plant she had picked up.
“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,” Russell said.
The hogweed has, in recent weeks, prompted states like New York and Massachusetts to issue public warnings due to its toxicity and the severity of the reaction had from touching it.
The plant has recently been spotted in New Hampshire and Maine, and warnings have already been sent out in Maryland, Virginia and Ohio. In Oregon and Washington, hogweed has been spreading rapidly.
Identifying hogweed is rather difficult, as it looks similar to that of a wild parsnip or a cow parsnip among other weeds. It does, however, grow taller than the average human being, The Blaze reported.
Hogweed flowers look similar to an umbrella, while parsnip flowers are generally flatter. Experts advise that those who come in contact with hogweed sap immediately wash the skin that was affected.
“I want other people to know that this plant is out there and to be aware of how dangerous it is,” Russell Fuller said. “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.”