Mum’s stark warning as ‘UK’s most dangerous plant’ leaves are needing plastic surgery


Her 12-year-old son was completely unaware of his injuries until he woke up the next morning to find a sore burn on his hand before being rushed to A&E

Kimberley Walker thinks her son brushed a toxic Giant Hogweed plant

A concerned mum has issued a stark warning after the “UK’s most dangerous plant” left her son needing urgent plastic surgery.

The youngster was completely unaware of his injuries until he woke up to find a sore burn on his hand.

Mum Kimberley Walker, 48, thinks her son brushed the toxic Giant Hogweed plant after he was allowed to leave his school grounds to retrieve a football in Leek, Staffordshire.

After waking up with burns, she rushed her 12-year-old son to A&E but says she was told at first that the burn was due to a “nettle sting.”

Three more burns have since appeared on her son’s face and he is now under the treatment of a plastic surgeon at the Royal Stoke University Hospital, StokeonTrentLive reports.

Kimberley is now speaking out to raise awareness of the dangers of the seemingly innocuous plant which causes reactions when it comes into contact with human skin.

Giant Hogweed has been described as the UK’s most dangerous plant
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Image:

Getty Images/iStockphoto)

“My son came home from school [at St Edward’s Church of England Academy] about seven weeks ago with a mark on his hand which looked like a burn from an oven,” she said. “I asked him what it was, but he didn’t know how he’d done it.

“I took him to A&E and they said he’d got a nettle sting. But I didn’t understand how he could burn his hand from a nettle.

“We’ve been treating that ever since and he still has a scar on his hand now. Then, last Thursday, he went to bed and when he got up on Friday morning there were two burns on his cheek.

“I asked what he’d been doing, but he didn’t know what was causing them. He went to school and then at 11am I had a phone call from school saying the burns had doubled in size.”

Kimberley took her son to see his GP where he had a 45 minute consultation.

She then received an alarming phone call that evening telling her to take him to the Royal Stoke as the Giant Hogweed burns “can scar and cause blindness”.

She added: “I had a phone call from the doctor. He said he had spoken to a colleague at the Royal Stoke who works in plastic surgery and that the burns can scar and cause blindness.

The sap from the plant can cause severe skin burns
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Image:

SWNS.com)

“We went to see the plastic surgeon last Tuesday and he thinks that one of the burns will heal, but another one is deeper. He dressed the burns and gave us an ointment to put on twice a day and we’ve got to go back this week.

“Then last Wednesday, I had another phone call from school saying that my son had some redness under his eye. We got up the next morning and there was another burn, right under his eye.

“We’ve now got to wait until we see the plastic surgeon this week. They don’t know whether he’ll be permanently scarred.

“He’s got to keep the burns covered up when he’s outside as they’re photo-sensitive and can keep developing.”

Kimberley says she was shocked to discover that a Giant Hogweed, described as the UK’s most dangerous plant, had caused the injuries as she’d never heard of it.

She added: “I was just shocked because I’d never even heard of it and I didn’t think a weed could burn. I didn’t realize a plant could cause so much damage.

“I was also upset because his hand is one thing, and it’s still scarred seven weeks later, but the other burns are on his face. They are a different ball game and we don’t know if he’ll be scarred or for how length

“I’m trying to raise awareness because nobody seems to know what it is.”

Kimberley says she has reported the Giant Hogweed to both the school and Staffordshire County Council. She says the school is no longer allowing children to leave the school grounds to retrieve footballs.

Kimberley added: “My son plays football on the school playground. The teachers had been opening the gate to let the kids get the ball when it got kicked out.

“But, unknown to them, that’s where the Giant Hogweed is. When my son has gone to pick up the football, he’s brushed the leaves on his cheek and on the back of his hand. It has been identified it as Giant Hogweed. They keep the gate shut now.”

The Mirror has approached St Edward’s Church of England Academy for a statement.

Staffordshire County Council told StokeonTrentLive that the Giant Hogweed is on private land.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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