HomeHealth & FitnessParthenium isn’t just bad for the soil but also for you

Parthenium isn’t just bad for the soil but also for you

As it was once called, Parthenium is a widespread weed posing a significant health threat. It is also known as “famine weed” or “Congress grass”.

Dr Ather Pasha, Consultant – Internal Medicine at CARE Hospitals, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad, explained the dangers of this invasive plant and how to manage its harmful effects.

Parthenium’s primary health risk lies in its potent allergens, he noted.

“Direct contact with the weed can trigger skin irritation, rashes, and a condition called parthenium dermatitis in susceptible individuals. Inhaling parthenium pollen can cause allergic rhinitis (hay fever), asthma, and other respiratory problems for those with sensitivities. Even eye irritation, redness, and watering can occur upon exposure. In some cases, prolonged exposure might lead to headaches, nausea, and fatigue,” he explained in an interaction with The Indian Express.

How can these problems related to Parthenium be managed?

Fortunately, there are ways to manage these health problems, said Pasha:

Minimise Contact: The most crucial thing is to avoid contact with parthenium. Wear protective clothing like long sleeves, pants, and gloves, and even consider a mask when working outdoors or in areas where it grows.

Maintain Hygiene: Maintaining hygiene is also an important step to get away of health problems. Wash your hands and exposed skin thoroughly with soap and water to remove any plant residue.

Medication and Treatment: Over-the-counter antihistamines, topical corticosteroids, and other treatments prescribed by a doctor can help alleviate symptoms like itching and inflammation. Allergen immunotherapy (allergy shots), is also recommended in severe allergy cases.

Respiratory Protection: A person with respiratory sensitivities to parthenium pollen should always wear a mask or respirator when working outdoors during its flowering season, typically when pollen levels are highest.

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Why public awareness is important?

Beyond individual precautions, community-wide efforts are vital, Pasha noted:

Controlling Infestations: Preventive measures should be taken to control parthenium growth in residential areas, parks, and agricultural fields significantly reduce overall exposure.

Public Education: By educating the communities about health risks and promoting preventive measures like avoiding contact and seeking medical attention for symptoms is crucial can keep you away from various health hazards.

Research and Monitoring: Continued research into parthenium allergens and effective management strategies can improve understanding of its health effects and lead to better control methods.

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