For a few children in Manchester, England, the summer of 2015 will be one that will scar them forever.
Four boys and one girl woke to unexplained lines on their bodies last weekend after spending time outdoors. No more than 48 hours after the first symptoms appeared, the children were suffering from “burning angry pain” and were covered with growing blisters.
Two of the victims, 13-year-olds Reid Daley and Conor Knott, were in such agony from the blistering and burning of their skin they had to be hospitalized.
Mathew Cocklin, Daley’s step-father, described the condition as like a rash with severe blistering that develops as if someone were slapped with great force.
The culprit in the cause of this mystery skin condition was the large wild plant, hogweed. Though the children affected live in England, the plant is common in at least 11 states in America.
Experts advise anyone in the states affected, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, Oregon, Michigan, Virginia, Washington, Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire, to hire a professional to remove the plant if it is found on someone’s property.
While English doctors were initially confused by the symptoms, it is now known that the condition can be contracted by simply brushing past the plant. Hogweed produces a chemical that, when it contacts skin, makes the victim extremely susceptible to sunburn and sensitive to sunlight.
Though the condition is curable, it can take up to seven years for the healing process to be completed. In that time, individuals must carefully protect themselves from exposure to sunlight. They must either cover themselves completely or avoid all exposure to the sun.
For the safety of anyone who ventures outdoors, it is always best to make oneself aware of any dangers that may be lurking around the next bend. For those dangers that cannot be anticipated, common-sense can be utilized like in this story to get the proper treatment. Thank goodness for swift action by their parents!
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