The so-called 'Taliban' terror weed continues to spread across the UK – and one man was nearly blinded by it.
The giant hogweed's sap contains toxic chemicals and is known for causing horrific rashes and blistering.
Oliver Fenton, 25, a self-employed gardener from Tunbridge Wells is one of the plant's latest victims, reports Kent Live.
Two weeks ago, while on a job in Sevenoaks, he came into contact with it.
Some of the juice landed on his eyelid and doctors said he was lucky not to have been blinded.
He said: "I was just working in someone’s garden doing some garden clearance and I didn’t actually cut any of the hogweed I just came into contact with it.
"It was the red marks which came up first of all after the first few hours.
"Unaware I’d got this sap on me I continued to work for the next couple of days in the sunshine."
"It wasn’t until two and a half days later I came up with all the blisters," he continued.
"I saw a practitioning nurse at my doctors and she basically said that I had been stung by this stuff.
"She actually didn’t know anything about it and had Googled it online.
"I had steroid cream, dressings, it was all bandaged up for around four or five days.
"Being self-employed I couldn’t really take too much time off without it affecting my money
"So, I had to get it bandaged up and just get on with working."
Some of the sap even landed on Mr Fenton's eyelid.
"If you actually get the sap in your eye you can be blind so that was really close," he added.
One of Mr Fenton's friends, Jamie Curtis has also been badly stung by the giant hogweed's sap.
Mr Fenton said: "He was strimming around a pond in Leybourne for a company that he worked for.
"He was strimming it in shorts and t-shirt and goggles and hard hat and that and got covered in the sap of the spray.
"He wasn’t aware what was going on until he came up two days later in the blisters and he’s gone through the same.
"His was a little worse than mine.
"He had to go to A&E and they were talking about skin grafts and stuff like that.
"He’s now on a really strong steroid cream."
Describing the pain he's endured from the blistering, Mr Fenton said: "It’s unbearable, it’s really itchy, really irritating.
"It’s as if you’ve been dancing in stinging nettles or something like that.
"Once it’s had a bit of sunlight on it, that’s when it reacts to the UV rays and starts to blister.
"It’s really itchy, it’s nasty, it’s just really horrible and uncomfortable to work with.
"You’re trying to not think about it but it’s just constantly there. You can’t get rid of it.
"I was taking Ibuprofen and I was on the steroid cream, antihistamine tablets and literally for two or three days I was in excruciating agony, constantly being reminded of the pain until the blisters popped and started to heal up.
"The red marks, even after they’ve blistered the first time can last on your skin I’ve read online for up to four years.
"Some people have it up to six years and in extreme cases it can last up to 10 years."
Giant Hogweed or Heracleum mantegazzianum, is a weed which has dangerous effects on human health.
Growing up to five metres tall, its sap contains toxic chemicals which react with light when in contact with human skin, causing blistering within 48 hours.
Effectively it prevents the skin from protecting itself from sunlight, which can lead to very bad sunburn and scarring.
Exposure can result in blisters, long-lasting scars, and – if it comes in contact with eyes – blindness.
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