Woman a Teletubby with walking stick after touching UKs most dangerous plant

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    A woman said she was left "looking like a Teletubby" after brushing against the "UK's most dangerous plant".

    Tina Sabine, who now needs a walking stick at the young age of 28, said medics thought she was a victim of an acid attack given the horrific extent of her injuries.

    Tina was walking her dogs when she brushed against giant hogweed but thought nothing of it until the next day when she "physically couldn't move" and her hand covered in painful blisters.

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    Following the incident in 2021 Tina called a friend in a panic asking her to rush her to Warwick A&E and on arrival claimed professionals thought someone had poured acid over her.

    Tina looked in the mirror on arrival and said her face had swollen so much that she "looked like a Teletubby", but doctors then only suspected an allergic reaction to something.

    However, after being transferred to Birmingham Hospital she was told by a consultant that she'd come into contact with the very toxic giant hogweed plant, which has been dubbed the "UK's most dangerous plant".

    Tina was hospitalised for a month and it took her two weeks to learn to walk again, but had to use a mobility scooter for six months.

    She still has to use a walking stick and is unable to use her right hand, all from a brush with a plant.

    "I went to bed absolutely fine. I woke up and I couldn't physically move. I was in pain, not terrible just annoying pain," said Tina of Royal Leamington Spa.

    "I looked at my hand, it blew up and was bright red. It looked like it had been dunked in acid. At the hospital they asked if someone had poured acid on my hand.

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    "My fingers swelled up, they had to cut off my rings, they're still swollen today.

    "I didn't look in the mirror until the hospital and the right side of my face bulged out so much that I looked like a Teletubby.

    "I'd been walking the dogs the day before so I think I must have come into contact with it there and then touched my face.

    "It was blistering. I was in a lot of pain."

    She added she developed a blood clot on her spine after her body reacted so badly to the plant, making walking an agonising experience.

    Tina said: "I wasn't really conscious the first few days, they were putting cream on it and making sure I wasn't in pain and waiting to see if I got better.

    "I was in hospital for over a month. I still can't use my right hand today. I started feeling better after about two weeks.

    "I've been back to the place where I suspect I came into contact with the hogweed and it's still there. It's scary to think that there are kids out playing and could touch it."

    Giant hogweed is invasive and potentially harmful. Chemicals in the sap can cause photodermatitis or photosensitivity, where the skin becomes very sensitive to sunlight and may suffer blistering, pigmentation and long-lasting scars.

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    • Injuries
    • Health issues
    • Hospital

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