Garden safety: Potential plant dangers

It is important to observe proper garden safety measures since there are various plants capable of triggering reactions. It is also applicable when spending time outdoors during camping or trekking.

Garden safety: Plants to watch out for

Stinging nettles

Stinging nettles are capable of triggering a burning sensation, rash and itchiness once the skin brushes against the plant. This occurs if the hairs break off, penetrate the skin and sting the skin.

If stung by the plant, you have to look for a dock leaf to rub on the rash. The dock leaves typically grow close to nettles. Toddlers should be familiarized with the appearance of the plant so that they can be avoided.

Giant hogweed

This plant can grow up to 5 meters tall, usually along footpaths and riverbanks. In case the sap of the plant is directly exposed to the skin, this can trigger painful, severe burns and makes the skin highly sensitive upon exposure to strong sunlight.

Garden safety

Stinging nettles are capable of triggering a burning sensation, rash and itchiness once the skin brushes against the plant.

If exposed to a giant hogweed, wrap the area and cleanse using water and soap. The blisters usually heal sluggishly and can progress into phytophotodermatitis which is a form of skin rash that flares up if exposed to sunlight. If the individual feels sick after being exposed to the plant, a doctor should be consulted.

Thorny plants

The needles, thorns or spines from plants such as holly, roses or brambles can trigger infections or other health conditions if they are implanted in the skin.

The first measure is to remove any thorns using tweezers. This is oftentimes easier after soaking the area in warm water for a few minutes. Injuries can be avoiding by teaching a child how to inspect for plants with spiky leaves or thorns and constantly utilize garden gloves if handling thorny plants.

Poisonous plants

Certain plants are potentially toxic such as deadly nightshade, mistletoe or chrysanthemums. The berries, leaves, fruit, flowers, bulbs or sap can poison one either making him/her sick after eating or triggering a skin rash after exposure.

Children should be instructed not to eat anything from the garden. If there are symptoms such as vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea or rashes, bring the child to the nearest emergency department right away with a sample of what he/she has eaten.

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