Dog walker’s face swells to twice the size after touching toxic plant


Christina Sabine woke up covered in blisters after brushing against giant hogweed (Picture: SWNS)

A dog walker’s face swelled to twice the size and was covered in enormous boils after she accidently brushed against a toxic plant.

Christina Sabine, 26, woke up to find her skin blistered ‘like it had been doused with acid’.

The artist said she was in so much she couldn’t walk and was rushed to hospital for treatment.

Doctors said she most likely brushed against toxic giant hogweed while out walking her two dogs, Mocha and Latte.

And three months on, she said she’s still in agony and is barely able to walk or use her hands.

Christina, from Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, said: ‘I woke up and saw myself in the mirror.

‘My face had swollen and all my skin had blistered and I looked like I was the victim of an acid attack.

‘My whole body was in too much pain to move — I even questioned calling 999 because I thought it might be life-threatening.

Christina’s hand after coming into contact with the hogweed (Picture: Christina Sabine / SWNS)
Christina’s swollen face which grew to twice the size (Picture: Christina Sabine / SWNS)

‘At this point I had no idea why, and when someone said it looked like it was caused by giant hogweed, I had no idea what they were on about.

‘When I did some research, it made total sense, because I walk past the plants loads when I walk my dogs, but I never knew they were poisonous.

‘Now months on, I’m still feeling the impacts.

‘I’m in pain every day and I can’t use my hand properly because it’s still too painful.

‘I want to make people aware because it can be so dangerous — and it could have been so much worse if it had been a child instead of me.’

Christina was out walking her two dogs when she touched the toxic plant (Picture: Christina Sabine / SWNS)

Christina was on a public path running along the river Avon into Stratford town centre when she encountered the giant hogweed.

But she had no idea until she woke up the following morning with boils on her hands, back, fingers, neck and legs.

She said: ‘I couldn’t walk for the pain — everything was red, swollen and blistered.

‘There were big orange balls of pus on my hands and my skin was red — I looked like I’d dipped my hand in acid.’

She went to Warwick Hospital and was transferred to Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, for treatment.

Months on, Christina still has back pain and struggles to move her hand — a curse for an amateur artist who made her money selling her work on sites such as Etsy.

Now she wants to warn others of the dangers of a regular-looking plant which has a long green stalk with lots of tiny white flowers at the top.

She has since lodged a complaint with Stratford District Council.

The council declined to comment while investigations are ongoing.

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