“It Was Heartbreaking Seeing Her in So Much Pain” Says Mum After Daughter Suffers Burns from Wild Parsnip

 “It Was Heartbreaking Seeing Her in So Much Pain” Says Mum After Daughter Suffers Burns from Wild Parsnip

Credit: Kennedy News and Media

A mother has issued a warning to parents after her young daughter developed severe burns on her face from brushing up against a wild parsnip plant. Ella Cain was innocently playing in the back garden when she smelled and touched a plant with delicate yellow petals. The following morning, her mother, Audrey Cain, noticed tiny blisters forming on the two-year-old’s skin.

Initially thinking it was poison ivy, the 27-year-old business owner applied chamomile lotion to relieve the itchiness. However, by the end of the day, the blisters had erupted into large, painful burns all over Ella’s body, including her arms, legs, cheeks, and nose, reported The Sun.

After researching the plant online, Audrey realized it was a wild parsnip, a plant that can cause a skin condition known as phytophotodermatitis. While the root of the plant is edible, the sap from the plant above ground is toxic and prevents the skin from protecting itself against the sun’s rays, causing severe burns when exposed to natural light.

The panicked mother-of-four called doctors, who advised her to use hydrocortisone to soothe Ella’s scorched skin and to keep her out of sunlight. As a result, Ella had to wear long-sleeved clothing and play in the shade all summer.

Now fully healed, Audrey is sharing the three-year-old’s experience to warn other parents about the potentially toxic plant that may be lurking in their gardens. The wild parsnip is common across England, particularly in the south and southeast, and in Wales.

Audrey, from Vassalboro, Maine, US, said, “It was heartbreaking seeing her in so much pain with these burns all over her. We have that plant all over our property. We just thought it was some kind of flowering plant; we never knew it was dangerous.”

She continued, “She was in our backyard. She never picked them, she just smelled one, and then she just touched the stems. We didn’t think anything of it. Next thing you know, she’s broken out in all these burns, and they progressively got worse over the next few days, including all down her face.”

The doctor advised Audrey to treat Ella’s burns with hydrocortisone cream and to keep her out of the sunlight to prevent further irritation. “Ella said it was itchy and it hurt, so we used chamomile lotion, then we switched to hydrocortisone. To heal it, we used vitamin E oil. The burns lasted up to two weeks before they healed. That whole time she said how sore it was.” Audrey concluded, “I’m sharing what happened just so people are aware of it and know to stay away from it.”

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