Many of you have asked where in the world I've been.

All I know is that after 7 plus years of blogging and a different lappy, which I don’t like, I seem to have lost my blogging fervor.

Someday, when you least expect it, I will post again.

For those of you still waiting I say thank you.

Meanwhile, I am rather prolific on twitter. Find me: @KeethaB
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The Eclectic Company - Waitin' on a New Adventure!!
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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

I've Been Poisoned by a Parsnip!!!


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!)

We literally wallowed in it on our walk.

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!



Anonymous said...

I stay out of weeds. Hubby, however, always finds his way into them somehow. He does make it a point though to always wear long pants when working in the weedy areas. It's hard to wear long sleeves in the summer months though so sometimes his arms take a beating.

(sorry to see you are having this experience as it does not look like much fun.)

KBeau said...

I've never heard of this before. Thanks for the heads up. Just the other day, we learned that kudzu gives off something that's harmful to the ozone. What's the world coming to?

Cath's Pennies Designs said...

I wonder if this plant grows in PA? I've never noticed it, but a friend of mine, after horseback riding, developed blisters like that on her arm. She assumed it was poison ivy but she said it was odd in that it didn't itch. It sure looks like what you have.
Those football sandals are cute on your feet!

Anke said...

Thanks for the warning, I had never even heard of wild parsnip before. Hopefully you'll feel better soon and there won't be any scars.

★Carol★ said...

Keetha, I had no idea about this stuff! I'm battling poison ivy in my yard and trying to avoid getting the rash again like last summer. I've seen that wild parsley before. You're giving me the heebie jeebies just thinking about coming in contact with this stuff. But I must say your pedicure looks fantastic, and I love those sandals!

Lori E said...

Yowch that looks painful. I get a nasty rash from cedars and junipers that are especially painful when you shower afterward but nothing like this.
No naked clothes burning? Chicken.

Theresa said...

OH MY! Thanks for the warning! Grass makes me itch... so I steer clear of tall grass:) I hope you get all better! Thanks for your visit this morning! You are a sweetie!

Big hugs!

Kristin - The Goat said...

Holy smokes! That's the strangest thing I've heard of in a long time. I'm so sorry that happened to you.

One way I've found to get rid of burn scars is to put vitamin E on them. I get the caplets, puncture them and spread the gooey oil all over the scar. It takes a while for it to sink in, so don't plan on crawling right into bed after you put it on :)

Kristin - The Goat

Tricia said...

Oh Keetha, that's awful! Thank you for sharing with us. I had no idea. I do hope that you feel better soon. Those blisters look just miserable.

Linda @ A La Carte said...

Keetha that looks so uncomfortable. Thanks for the warning I would never have know! I hope it heals soon and leaves no scars!

Cindy said...

That looks terrible! I had a bad case of chigger bites last year and after being in any "brush" for any length of time, I go home and take a long shower. Also, I'm allergic to poison ivy so, that's beneficial too. I've seen that wild parsnip out and about! Yikes! I hope you heal quickly!

Unknown said...

Oh my gosh that looks like it hurts. Thanks for the warning!

Ann in the UP said...

Today I think you need to change the "witty banter" to "abject sympathy". Man that stuff looks nasty, and the plant looks so much like Queen Anne's lace---at least what I can spot from here. Just another great reason to resist venturing into the tall grass. Woodticks live there too.

Tonja said...

Oh, my friend, I am so sorry! I'll bet that feels awful! I have never heard of this before. I bet that lots of people just think they have poison ivy. Thanks for sharing this info with the rest of us! And, hope you feel better quick!

Julie Harward said...

Thanks for your visit. This looks very painful..ouch! I hope it heals the cute flip flaps too! :D

nancygrayce said...

Oh, that's not good! I don't know if we have that in this part of the country...I'm in no danger as I don't hike a lot! :) Hope you're better soon!

Keri said...


Naked burning = hahahahahahaha

Nice "Red Green" reference. :)

LV said...

From now on if you want to hike through the weeds, wear protection. I never saw anyone get this type problem from weeds. I trust it feels better than it looks.

Janean said...

Girl, I'm scanning the yard to see if we have any lurking out there ready to spread its *ill-natured* nastiness on us (being I thought it was immature Queen Anne's Lace too). Argh! Hope you feel better soon.

Gentle hugs.

The one with the shoes said...

poor mamsie :( looks painful :( love

Angie said...

Come now, come now. Soon be better. But I have to say, the sign DID say "Hikers Only" and who was not dressed up as one?

As for the scars that might persist ..... you could dine out on this for weeks. Maybe even have a new career as an after dinner speaker. Surely such an accomplished writer as you can think of some armed-to-the-teeth jungle adventure to cover it?

I agree with you about the meds though. We have some stuff over here called calamine Lotion, which you dab on as often as you like - takes the heat right out of sunburn. It's simply a question of not caring about the pinkish white powdery splodges.

Martin LaBar said...

We still have kudzu, of course. But it doesn't make us itch. It just takes over everything.

kyooty said...

Making notes because that's not Kyoot at all!! ick!!! must go hack down the back woods.

Carol said...

Oh, poor baby! I hope you heal soon. I had a nasty bout of poison ivy last month, right around my knees & behind them...agony!

Anitra Cameron said...

OWIE OWIE OWIE! Man, I never knew that stuff would burn a person. Holy cow.

I do think it's what I've heard called Hemlock around here. Thought that meant you probably shouldn't eat it!