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A horrified mum has issued a serious warning to other parents after a dangerous plant left her 12-year-old son with burns on his face.
Kimberley Walker, 48, was rushed her son to A&E when he woke up with burns on his face and hands, but was told it was just the mark of a 'nettle sting.'
Since then, the burns on her son's hand had 'doubled in size', leading Kimberley and her doctor to believe that her son had come into contact with a Giant Hogweed plant.
The Giant Hogweed can secrete a toxic sap that causes severe burning, skin damage, and even blindness when it comes into contact with human skin.
Kimberley's son is now being treated for his burns by a plastic surgeon at Royal Stoke University Hospital.
Explaining how it all unfolded, Kimberley told StokeOnTrentLive that her son had come home from school 'about seven weeks ago with a mark on his hand which looked like a burn from an oven'.
She continued: "I asked him what it was, but he didn't know how he'd done it.
"I took him to A&E and they said he'd got a nettle sting. But I didn't understand how he could burn his hand from a nettle.
"We've been treating that ever since and he still has a scar on his hand now."
Kimberley explained that the burn had been confined to her son's hand up until last week, when he woke up with two more burn marks on his cheek.
"I asked what he'd been doing, but he didn't know what was causing them. He went to school and then at 11am I had a phone call from school saying the burns had doubled in size."
Eventually, a doctor contacted Kimberley to let her know that he had spoken to a colleague at the Royal Stoke University Hospital who works in plastic surgery, who warned that the burns 'can scar and cause blindness'.
She recalled: "We went to see the plastic surgeon last Tuesday and he thinks that one of the burns will heal, but another one is deeper. He dressed the burns and gave us an ointment to put on twice a day and we've got to go back this week.
"Then last Wednesday, I had another phone call from school saying that my son had some redness under his eye. We got up the next morning and there was another burn, right under his eye."
The worried mum added that doctors still aren't sure whether or not her son will be permanently scarred from the burns.
For the time being, Kimberley's son has been told to keep his burns covered up when he goes outside as they're photo-sensitive and can keep developing over time.
"I was just shocked because I'd never even heard of it and I didn't think a weed could burn," she said. "I didn't realise a plant could cause so much damage.
"I was also upset because his hand is one thing, and it's still scarred seven weeks later, but the other burns are on his face.
"They are a different ball game and we don't know if he'll be scarred or for how long. I'm trying to raise awareness because nobody seems to know what it is."
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