Almost 70 species of hogweed are found in the world flora. In the late 40s of the twentieth century, it began to be used as a fodder crop. Sosnowsky's hogweed (Heracleum sosnowskyi) was selected as the very first and most highly productive among other species. However, the milk of cows gave off bitterness and the cultivation of this crop was discontinued. Hogweed is an aggressive plant. Once hitting the fields and being left without proper care, it began to spread and occupy all free areas.
The danger of hogweed is that all parts of the plant contain furocoumarins - substances that dramatically increase the body's sensitivity to ultraviolet radiation. Contact with stems, leaves, flowers, contact of hogweed juice on the skin when exposed to ultraviolet radiation leads to phytochemical burns: local skin hyperemia (redness) occurs, itching increases, edema develops, epidermal blisters form with transparent (serous) contents. Even limited in area, superficial burns heal over a long time, often with the development of local inflammation, hyperpigmentation (dark spots on the skin), which remains for several months. With extensive damage in the first hours after contact with the plant, in addition to local manifestations, a sharp deterioration in the general condition develops (weakness, lowering blood pressure, severe headache, dizziness, nausea, fever).
The main measure for the prevention of phytochemical burns by hogweed is the complete exclusion of skin contact with this plant. Strict observance of the rules of personal protection is necessary so that the hogweed juice or dew with the juice dissolved in it from plants does not fall not only on unprotected areas of the body, but also does not wet clothes.
First aid in case of contact with Sosnovsky's hogweed juice on the skin:
Phytochemical burns with hogweed in children, due to age-related anatomical features, are often extremely difficult. The skin in children is thinner with poorly differentiated layers, there is no dense connective tissue, therefore, as a result of exposure to hogweed juice, there is a greater tendency than in adults to develop not only a pronounced local lesion, but also severe disorders of various vital organs and body systems. In no case should parents self-medicate, it is necessary to seek medical help in a medical institution as soon as possible.