Warning!! Warning!! Warning!!! This post may in some parts resemble a medical journal. Peruse it at your own risk, we do not provide a life guard.
But DO skip down to read the last couple of paragraphs to SAVE yourself from my fate or even worse.
The other day when I was sooooo proud of myself for taking a long arduous hike over hill and down into dale through tall grasses and wild flowers with Sister Pam, Cousin Doug, and Dad, little did I realize I was going to have a long lasting side-effect.
Seems there is this innocent looking plant with a rather pretty flower. It is NOT however innocent in the least. It is subtly sabotaging you as you pass by. It's called wild parsnip and it's an invasive species which is proliferating in American fields and woods.
(Just like kudzu, Dr. LaBar - - - you taught me about invasive species with kudzu!)
I had never heard of it before, so did not know I was sitting with the enemy!!!
Perhaps this sign would have BETTER warned me that the alien was lurking very near by.
Seems that exposure to the oils of wild parsnip does not cause an immediate problem, so one innocently continues on one's way oblivious to the fact that doom is looming.
Once the oils are on the skin, and then the oiled skin is exposed to sunlight the damage begins. The combo of light and oil causes a condition known as phytophotodermatitis. (fi-to-fo-to-dermatitis) Literally after exposure to U-V rays from the sun, the nasty old parsnip oil BURNS your skin. This is NOT an allergic reaction so everyone can be burned by the parsnip. I guess you could say it is an "equal opportunity poisoner."
The result resembles a poison ivy rash, and is often confused for poison ivy, though the blisters are more pronounced and tend to follow straight line paths. It does not itch severely as does a poison ivy reaction, instead it burns.
These blisters do not appear until 24 to 48 hours AFTER exposure. If one is CLEVER and rushes to a shower or sink and thoroughly rinses the exposed area with soap and water immedaitely after exposure and before encountering U-V rays, one may avoid the burning all together.
Sister Pam was that CLEVER. When we stopped for lunch, she went into the restaurant restroom and rinsed. She is pretty much burn free.
Her less clever elder sister is not.
On Friday afternoon, a mere 24 hours after our walk, I just thought I had scratched my legs in the long grass and thistles, though I DID note that the scratches felt strangely like sunburn.
I took this picture to post with some semi-witty caption like, "This is what the SENIOR CITIZEN gets for attempting to hike through tall grasses."
Ha-ha - - - the last laugh is on me!!!
This is my right ankle 4 days after exposure. It still feels like a mild sunburn. I've been reading and researching to see what I should do about this. I ain't very happy about what I find.
Left ankle four days post exposure. These blisters are smaller, but then they didn't even BEGIN to form until 24 hours after those on the other leg, so I suppose they still have time to catch up.
Please don't worry about me - - - these look far worse than they feel.
What I'm LEARNING about these burns is they will take 2 to 4 weeks to heal and even after that will quite probably leave a dark red or brownish scar for up to two years!!!
My vanity is quite crushed.
About all I can do for it is treat it like a sunburn. Fisherhubby did put me on a prednisone course as if he were treating poison ivy, but I dont' have much hope that it will work since this is NOT an allergic reaction but a chemical burn. I'm using aloe vera and cortisone cream to control the burning, slightly itchy symptoms.
I do have one burned area on the side of my left arm/wrist area.
That wrist blister keeps puffing up quite tall.
Now - - - my PURPOSE in this post really isn't to whine. I actually feel quite fortunate at how MILD my case is. I've seen FAR FAR worse photos online while researching.
No - - - my PURPOSE is to WARN.
Wild Parsley is related to Queen Anne's lace and the flower resembles it a lot, only it is a pale yellow-green color.
If you see it on your daily walk - - - or your weekly walk - - - or your annual walk - - - pass right on by!!! AND just for safety's sake, the INSTANT you get home, shower off for goodness sakes!!!
Furthermore, if you have some of this stuff growing in your ditch or your field or your yard and you wish to get RID of it - - - for HEAVEN'S SAKE wear long pants and long sleeves and gloves. And, be sure to SHOWER immediately after stripping out of and burning those nasty old clothes!!! Well - - - I don't mean you need to indulge in naked burning - - - but you get the idea.
Remember, I'm pulling for you - - - we're all in this together!