They may be pretty, but these tiny, white, umbrella-shaped clusters of flowers are highly toxic and a Lancaster, Texas, woman is warning others after being hospitalized just from touching them.
Kenzie Kizer said shortly after pulling weeds in her alley, her arms felt as if they “were on fire,” so she took a shower.
“Less than an hour later, my tongue started swelling, my skin was burning. my speech was slurred, I was dizzy, confused and very shaky. It started to feel as though my chest was tightening and I was struggling to breathe,” said Kizer.
She went to the ER immediately, where it was confirmed that she has been poisoned by Poisonous Hemlock.
Poison hemlock is highly poisonous to humans and animals and can be found nationwide.
Infestations occur along roadsides, field margins, ditches, marshes, meadows, and low-lying areas, but poison hemlock prefers shaded areas with moist soil.
All parts of poison hemlock (leaves, stem, fruit, and root) are poisonous, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. Leaves are especially poisonous in the spring, up to the time the plant flowers. The department said animals die from respiratory paralysis in two to three hours if eaten. A human ingesting six to eight fresh leaves can die in two hours, officials said.
The typical symptoms for humans include dilation of the pupils, dizziness, trembling followed by slowing of the heartbeat, paralysis of the central nervous system, muscle paralysis and death due to respiratory failure, according to the USDA.
For animals, symptoms include nervous trembling, salivation, lack of coordination, pupil dilation, rapid weak pulse, respiratory paralysis, coma, and sometimes death. For both people and animals, quick treatment can reverse the harm and typically there aren’t noticeable aftereffects.
“Me deciding to shower saved my life,” said Kizer. “And turned what could have been a tragic situation into a “mild” reaction. If you see this in your yard, do not touch it. Do not go near it. Keep curious pets that like to munch on plants in eyesight. If ingested orally, it can kill a human or pet in just three short hours. Just touching it or breathing it in can send your body into respiratory failure.”
Last year, the plant was found growing near White Rock Lake in Dallas
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