If you live in an area where giant hogweed is becoming a nuisance, not everyone realizes how dangerous this plant can be. Your dad was out weeding his garden and didn’t know the plants he was pulling out were young giant hogweed plants.
Hours later, the skin on his hands and forearms is burning and itching. Within two days, massive fluid-filled blisters are starting to form. He needs to see a doctor and learn how to take care of these burns that may be around for several weeks or months.
The sap in giant hogweed reacts to sunlight and causes severe burns. Depending on how much sap was on your dad’s skin and how much time he was in the sun, the burns may be minor. In many cases, they can blow up to be the size of an orange and be very uncomfortable. Opening them to drain the fluid is not recommended and can increase the risk of infection.
What Are the Immediate Treatment Goals?
Once your dad’s skin is blistered, it needs to be carefully washed and bandaged. He needs to keep the blisters covered to avoid having them catch on items and rupture. It’s also important to protect his skin from sun exposure, so bandages will help with that.
If he has large blisters, he needs to go to the doctor. They may need to be drained. Surgical removal may be required.
He’s going to rely on creams like Cortisone to help with the burning and itching. Aloe vera gel can help. If he has giant blisters, a spray is easier to apply. Once the cream is on, cover the area with bandages again.
Minor cases can clear up after a week or two, but severe burns may take months to heal. In that time, he needs to protect them from the sun. Invest in clothing that is lightweight but blocks UV rays. He needs to use the highest SPF sunscreen he can and apply it properly.
The use of sunscreen is going to be what keeps him from running into issues with the burns returning. Make sure he uses it.
Arrange Skilled Nursing Care
Is skilled nursing care recommended by your dad’s doctor? It’s not surprising. He’s going to be in some pain and discomfort. With skilled nursing care, if any medications become necessary, his nurse can administer them. Topical corticosteroids are often prescribed in severe cases.
If your dad touched his eyes and the sap spread to them, it’s dangerous and can lead to blindness. He needs careful treatment. In some cases, giant hogweed exposure may require surgery to remove, and that will increase his care needs.
A skilled nurse can help with infection control, blister care, and any surgical incisions that were required. Ask your dad’s doctor what care he’s going to need and call a skilled nursing care specialist.