PETALING JAYA: Individuals should exercise care with the Parthenium hysterophorus as the weed has asthma and eczema-causing properties.
“If they come into contact with the weed and begin feeling itchy or short of breath, they should immediately take an antihistamine to counter any allergic reaction,” advised Malaysian Medical Association president Dr H. Krishnakumar.
“And be sure to wash your hands or the relevant body parts which had come into contact with the plant,” he added.
Hypersensitive individuals who frequently experience rashes or hayfever should exercise caution when going outdoors by wearing long-sleeved garments.
Dr Krishnakumar said that if severe allergic reactions – such as throat swelling and low blood pressure – were experienced, the victim should go to the hospital immediately.
“Don’t delay. The reaction might cause your airways to become blocked,” he said in outlining some worst case scenarios.
There are over 50 Department of Agriculture officials monitoring P. hysterophorus infestation in Malaysia, which is believed to have spread due to the import of animals from affected countries.
Its visual similarity to ulam raja has also hastened the spread, with landscaping companies using it for decorations.
Parthenium pollen grains have been shown to inhibit tomato, brinjal and beans, among other crops.
The Star revealed yesterday that the plant was slowly encroaching upon grassland in Malaysia, causing allergic reactions in people.