Charlotte Murphy from Essex, Vermont, got the shock of her life when she woke up with giant, horrific blisters all over her legs.
A few days earlier, the Elon University student had been traveling toward Southern Vermont for an internship with a local artist when she decided to stop along the way.
As she was walking on the side of the road, she lost her footing and fell into a plant. The contact caused the plant to break, and its sap got on her bare skin.
Not thinking anything of the incident, Charlotte carried on with her day, enjoying the sunshine and warm weather. Little did she know, however, these actions were making her injuries worse.
Charlotte didn’t realize anything was wrong until two days later when itchy, red bumps appeared on her legs, where she had touched the plant.
At first, as she told Fox News, she “didn’t think anything of it” and assumed the bumps would just go away.
Unfortunately, however, against her prediction, the bumps grew increasingly worse.
In the interview with Fox News, she said:
“Unfortunately, I scratched it a lot in my sleep and woke up with blisters on my leg.”
“There was a start of a really big blister, and my leg was so swollen I couldn’t walk.”
This is when Charlotte and her parents realized the situation was bad.
Charlotte was rushed to an urgent care clinic for treatment, where doctors said her blisters were from wild parsnip, a toxic weed.
At first, doctors and nurses weren’t sure what to do.
“They hadn’t really seen a wild parsnip case this extreme and were unsure of what to do at first.”
Doctors were unable to drain the giant blister on Charlotte’s left leg. Instead, however, they bandaged her and prescribed antibiotics to prevent any potential infection.
Later, when her situation improved, she was sent to the University of Vermont’s trauma and burn center, whose staff helped treat the wounds.
Wild parsnip is an invasive weed that is becoming increasingly common around roadsides and populated areas of North America.
Ontario Invasive Plants explains: “During the last 15-20 years, wild parsnip has become increasingly common around eastern Ontario [Canada] with large populations east of Belleville and western Quebec.”
“In the United States, it’s found in most states, with the exception of Alabama, Hawaii, Georgia, and Florida.”
The plant’s sap (or juice) contains chemicals called furocoumarins which bind to DNA in cell membranes and slowly destroy skin tissue. Because the process is rather slow, it can take time to notice any visible damage. In addition, any area that is touched by the sap becomes extremely sensitive to UV light from the sun— which is why Charlotte spending time outdoors likely made her condition worse.
Charlotte is expected to make a full recovery, although she will likely have scars from the experience.
Since the horrific incident, she has taken to Facebook to warn others about the dangers of wild parsnip. She explained:
“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.”
Watch her story below.
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Source: People via Tout