Wild plant with toxic sap that 'eats away at your skin' is spreading

- When you go outside this summer, beware of the poisonous weed Wild Parsnip, which grows in nearly all 50 U.S. states, including Illinois.

Wendy Prusha of 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 told KCCI. "The oils sit on your skin, it's a constant burning and it eats away your skin."

Parsnip 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 Disease 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.

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