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Wild parsnip poses serious risk to humans


MENOMONIE (WQOW) - More time outside means more opportunities to come in contact with hazardous wild plants, including one plaguing roadsides in the Chippewa Valley.

Wild parsnip is found in most townships, counties and along state highways in Wisconsin.

The sap from the plant poses a serious health concern.

If it comes in contact with skin and that skin is then exposed to sunlight, blisters and burn will form. In extreme cases the skin will even turn black and scar.

Experts say you can identify the plant by it's tall structure, ridged stem and flowering top.

If you spot one, stay away.

"We've seen people have it on their legs, their hands, their feet, on their face, sometimes in their eyelids and on their mouth," said Chris Gaetzke, executive director of Lower Chippewa Invasive Partnership. "Unlike poison ivy, everybody gets a reaction from this plant. There is nobody immune to it."

Gaetzke says if sap from wild parsnip gets on your skin the only remedy is to it wash it off as quickly as possible to help avoid a serious reaction.

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