UNION, Iowa — When you venture outside this summer, be on the lookout for Wild Parsnip. The poisonous weed grows in nearly all 50 U.S. states.
In fact, the plant’s growth in Iowa has prompted Department of Natural Resources there to issue a warning, KCCI reports.
Wendy Prusha, of Union, Iowa, was exposed to Wild Parsnip while working in her yard. She developed a rash and ended up in the emergency room.
“It’s a constant burning. It just bubbled up overnight,” she said. “The oils sit on your skin, it’s a constant burning and it eats away your skin.”
Parsnip looks like a dill plant or Queen Anne’s lace. It is yellow and can grow about four feet tall.
When parsnip weed comes into contact with skin and is exposed to sunlight, it induces a rash similar to severe burns.
If you are exposed to a poisonous plant, the Center for Diease Control recommends:
Immediately rinse skin with rubbing alcohol, poison plant wash, or degreasing soap (such as dishwashing soap) or detergent, and lots of water.
Rinse frequently so that wash solutions do not dry on the skin and further spread the urushiol.
Scrub under nails with a brush.
Apply wet compresses, calamine lotion, or hydrocortisone cream to the skin to reduce itching and blistering.
Oatmeal baths may relieve itching.
An antihistamine may help relieve itching. (NOTE: Drowsiness may occur.)
In severe cases or if the rash is on the face or genitals, seek professional medical attention.
Call 911 or go to a hospital emergency room if you have a severe allergic reaction, such as swelling or difficulty breathing, or have had a severe reaction in the past.