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Be aware of Giant Hogweed and avoid contact

The Department for Infrastructure is urging the public to be aware of Giant hogweed and avoid contact with it, as it can cause blistering and swelling on the skin.

The plant is usually found growing in areas of damp soils, such as river banks.

Giant hogweed grows up to between three and five metres high, which is what helps identify it as it looks similar to hogweed and cow parsley.

You should report any sightings of the plant.

Giant hogweed contains a sap which irritates skin when it is exposed to sunlight.

Symptoms are usually noticeable within 24 hours and include blistering and swelling on the skin, which may be made worse by over-exposure to the sun.

If you come into contact with Giant hogweed:

• cover the affected skin immediately to avoid exposure to the sun

• wash the skin with cold water

• If there is blistering or the contact was with the eyes, you should seek medical advice.