Skin Problems from Outdoor Plants

Avid gardeners should always keep in mind that what might seemingly be a harmless activity of raking and hoeing and pruning can suddenly turn into a nightmare. Skin rashes, irritation, red blotches are often the result of brushing against certain outdoor plants that you never knew could be deadly in the first place. Here is a guide to plants that might cause skin problems and what to do if you are affected.

However, before that, it is important to understand the seriousness of the problem from an authority no less than dermatologist Julian J. Trevino, MD, FAAD, associate professor of dermatology at Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine in Dayton, Ohio. Speaking at the 69th Annual General Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology (Academy), he said, “While most of the skin reactions resulting from direct contact with a hazardous plant are more of a nuisance than anything else, there are some instances where the reaction can affect the entire body and pose a potentially more serious risk. For example, people allergic to plants or having sensitive skin that are prone to eczema or atopic dermatitis may experience more severe or long-lasting effects that require medical attention.”

Some of the common plants that can cause skin irritation are Alliums, Blanket Flower, Cactus, Carrots, Crown of Thorns, English Ivy, Fennel, Hyacinth, Gas Plant, Iris, Lettuce and Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac. The extent of skin problems from them varies. Some may need serious medical attention while others will fade away quickly. Since you will not be aware of what might cause an adverse situation, it is preferable to take professional help in certain garden maintenance activities. If you want to remove an old or diseased tree from your estate, you never know if you will be dealing with poisonous weeds entwined around the tree. Call for professional tree removal services to cut down the tree. Arborists are trained in these aspects. If you are a resident of Melbourne, Daryl’s Tree Care should be your first choice of a tree removal agency.

Skin problems from outdoor plants are of 3 types –

Light sensitivity – There are some species that become irritants only when exposed to light. These are usually from the carrot family like Queen, Anne’s Lace and parsnips. Since they turn harmful to skin in sunlight, gardeners are affected as it is at that time that people tend their patch of green.

Mechanical injury – Plants with thorns and nettles are dangerous as they prick the skin. Apart from the pain, toxins are also introduced into the body through the wound.

Chemical irritation – Chemical compounds in certain plants often results in extreme distress when injected through the skin and even when the body comes in accidental touch with them. An example is the irritating chemical urushiol from poison ivy.

What should you do at the first signs of skin irritation? Wash the area with soap and water immediately and apply a cream. Do not touch the mouth area and eyes. In minor cases, this should do but if you develop blotches or blisters consult a doctor at once.