As if you needed another reason to stay inside this summer: A Vermont woman literally just brushed up against a plant and wound up with some pretty serious blisters.
Charlotte Murphy, of Essex, Vermont,posted on Facebook about her experience coming into contact with a poisonous wild parsnip plant. In the series of photos, Charlotte shows her leg with enormous yellow blisters (she also included a photo of what the plant looks like, JSYK—thanks, girl).
“My hope in posting this unfortunate news is to create greater awareness for what WILD PARSNIP is…and the terrible things the OIL from its stem, leaves, and blooms can do to the skin (I’m not saying everyone will have the reaction I did) and to encourage people to spread the news.”
And spread the news is what people are doing—Charlotte’s post has been shared more than 30,000 times.
If you don’t know anything about wild parsnip—and of course you don’t, why would you?—it’s a common invasive species that grows along roadsides. They look like yellow Queen Anne’s Lace, notes the Vermont Department of Health.
Exposure to the plant’s sap can cause crazy skin reactions. “If your skin comes in contact with the sap or the juice in the plant your skin can develop almost a sunburn when your skin is out in the sun,” Sarah Vose, of Vermont’s Department of Health, told Burlington’s NBC 5.
Charlotte says she rubbed up against broken leaves of the plant and then spent the day in the sun (so, kind of a double-whammy). A few days later, she saw some painless, non-itchy bumps appear. A week later, she had the reaction you see, in part made a whole lot worse from itching it in her sleep.
“Throughout the day, [the blisters] grew exponentially to a point where my leg was swollen and I couldn’t walk,” she wrote, adding that she went to urgent care. The rash spread to her other leg, arms, and fingers.
Charlotte says doctors compared her reaction to a second-degree chemical burn, and she’s currently being treated at the University of Vermont’s Trauma and Burn Center. She’s expected to make a full recovery.
If you spot these delicate yellow flowers on the side of the road, obviously, don’t make contact with them. If you brush up against them by accident, wash your skin and protect it from the sun for 48 hours.
Charlotte apologized to her Facebook audience for showing the “intense” photos, but says, “they are the best way to show people what wild parsnip does.”
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