Wild Parsnip Burns: Symptoms, Treatment, and How to Avoid
Symptoms of Wild Parsnip Burns:
The symptoms of wild parsnip burn are similar to those of other types of severe burns. However, they may not appear immediately after the fire. These symptoms may take several days or even weeks before the skin becomes normal again.
Sometimes it takes longer than that if there was some contact with chemicals during the burning process.
In most cases, the skin will become red and raw at first. Then it turns into a scab over time. After the skin heals, it will look like new.
You might have to wait until all the scars heal completely before you see your old skin again.
When you start feeling pain in one area of your body, it means that you have burned yourself too much. If you continue to burn yourself, you will eventually develop a second set of symptoms.
How to Treat Wild Parsnip Burn?
There are many ways to treat wild parsnip burns. Some methods are better than others. You need to choose the method that works best for you. Here are some tips:
Wear loose fitting clothing – This helps prevent the skin from becoming infected because of bacteria growths and dirt particles.
Keep the wound clean – Immediately after the wild parsnip burns, you should wash it with water and mild liquid soap. You may also use disinfectants and other medication that is made for this purpose.
Cover the wound with a clean bandage – This prevents liquids from getting inside the wound, which may lead to infections.
If your clothing is still on fire, take them off immediately. Hold your skin away from the burning material.
If you have accidentally swallowed any parts of the plant, seek medical help immediately.
Do not scratch the wounds or try to remove your skin, this will only spread the burning sensation and damage your skin more.
Bang the wound against hard surface to stop the burning process.
It is always best not to eat wild plants, herbs or flowers that you are not familiar with. Most of these do not taste good and can be harmful. It is best to just leave them alone.
How to Prevent Wild Parsnip Blisters?
When going to an area where wild parsnip plants grow, you need to take the necessary precautions. Do not cut your exposure time too short. Watch out for other people who might accidentally step on a plant and touch it. Always wear long pants, long sleeved shirts and gloves when working in areas which are known to have wild parsnip plants.
Tips on How to Get Rid of Wild Parsnip:
You can also get rid of wild parsnip by pulling out the entire plant, but you have to be extremely careful not to touch any part of it with bare skin. It is best to use gloves and other protective gear when removing the entire plant. When you get back in the house, clean your clothes, shoes and anything else that might have gotten some of the oils from the plant on it.
As soon as possible, throw these things in the trash so no one, including pets or wildlife, can touch it.
Get rid of any wild parsnip plants growing in your backyard or near your home. Even if you don’t plan on going near them, wildlife and neighborhood kids might have their own plans. If they touch the plant, the oils will get on their skin and cause a rash.
It is best not to take chances.
The best way of getting rid of wild parsnip plants growing in your backyard is to call a professional landscaper and ask them to get rid of the plants for you. This will ensure that all parts of the plants are completely removed from your property.
If you or someone you know has touched wild parsnip oil and have a rash, call your poison control center immediately.
Can You Cook or Eat Wild Parsnip?
Despite its poisonous nature, wild parsnip has been used in cooking. Check with a professional chef before doing this, as you may have an allergic reaction to the cooked product.
Things You’ll Need to Identify Wild Parsnip:
You will need a good quality field guide that shows the leaf, stem, flower and other parts of the plant. You can also bring a part of the plant with you to compare while you are identifying it.
Tips and Warnings:
Never consume wild plants, herbs or flowers unless you have 100 percent positive identification of it, and even then, you should only use it in very small quantities.
Do not rely on internet images to identify a plant. Most of these images are outdated, inaccurate or show the wrong plant entirely.
Wild plants can look very different depending on the time of year, the soil quality, the amount of sun it receives, and other factors. While one part of the country may have a particular plant, another region may never see that plant at all.
Be careful when collecting samples of any kind. If you do not collect the entire plant, it can be difficult to identify and you might get the identification wrong.
See if you can find wild parsnip. It grows in many areas of the U.S.
and is very easy to spot due to its large size and distinctive white flower clusters. It is very poisonous, so do not attempt to eat or touch this plant.
Wear protective clothing such as long sleeved shirts, gloves and pants when working around this plant.
Always wash the clothes you were wearing when you handled the plant before wearing them again.
If you come into contact with any oils from the plant, immediately wash the area with a mild soap and water, then apply an over the counter cortisone cream to reduce your reaction to it. Always wash your hands after touching the plant as the oils can still cause a reaction.
If you know someone who has a confirmed wild parsnip plant in their garden, ask if you can take a few pictures of it to compare to any plants you think may be wild parsnip.
Take your pictures to your local nursery and ask them to help you identify the plants.
If you can get someone who has confirmed knowledge of wild plants in your area to help you, take them to the garden and show them the plants that you are unsure about, they will be able to confirm if they are wild parsnip or not within a few minutes.
If you have many wild parsnip plants in your area and are worried about coming into contact with them, consider contacting your local weed control to get rid of the plants for you.
Always wear protective clothing such as long sleeved shirts, gloves and pants when working around this plant.
Be very careful when collecting samples of any kind. If you don’t collect the entire plant, it can be difficult to identify and you might get the identification wrong.
Wild parsnip can be very dangerous if consumed, so don’t taste any part of the plant. Even if you don’t have a reaction to the plant straight away, you may have an allergic reaction later.
If you know what wild parsnip looks like and take precautions when working with it or coming into contact with it, you can safely enjoy identifying plants in your area.
If you have an allergy to poison ivy, sumac or mango rashes, you are more likely to be allergic to wild parsnip.
Children are more likely to come into contact with wild parsnip as they tend to be outdoors more often and will put anything they find in their mouth.
Children are also more likely to experience a bad reaction to wild parsnip as their skin is much thinner than an adults, so the reaction will start sooner.
Do not attempt to burn or use weed killer on the plant as this causes it to release its oils and make the reaction worse.
If you are uncertain that a plant is wild parsnip, do not attempt to touch it.
When identifying plants always wear long sleeved clothing, gloves and ideally also wear pants to prevent any possibility of coming into contact with the oils in the skin.
If you have confirmed wild parsnip on your property and want to get rid of it, spray it with glyphosate as this is the only thing that is effective on it and is also safe to use.
Sources & references used in this article:
Wild Parsnip (Pastinaca sativa): A Troublesome Species of Increasing Concern by KM Averill, A DiTommaso – Weed Technology, 2007 – cambridge.org
Gas plant (Dictamnus albus) phytophotodermatitis simulating poison ivy. by JH Son, H Jin, HS You, WH Shim, JM Kim, GW Kim… – Annals of dermatology, 2017
Wild Parsnip by JA Henderson, JP DesGroseilliers – Canadian Medical Association …, 1984 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov