The Truth About The Poison Hemlock Outbreak On Truckee River

It would be a GREAT time to know your herbs, plants and flowers!  Its not that we don’t normally have Hemlock around, it’s that this year we have an ABUNDANCE of Hemlock around- enough to cause problems with children, pets and out door activities in the area and enough so that they are blocking off trails in and and around parks by the Truckee River. The difference between Yarrow and Hemlock:

Yarrow has and umbrella base flower stem and feathery leaves, furry stem and only gets about 2-3 ft tall


Poison Hemlock gets VERY TALL- 6-8 ft and has purple splotches on the smooth stems and a wide spread leaf pattern. Flowers are in smaller groupings.

The general symptoms of hemlock poisoning are effects on nervous system (stimulation followed by paralysis of motor nerve endings and CNS stimulation and later depression), vomiting, trembling, problems in movement, slow and weak later rapid pulse, rapid respiration, salivation, urination, nausea, convulsions, coma and death. Within 3 hours, hemlock can kill a child or pet and make adults very ill.

If you think you have someone who has been exposed,

For patients with possible hemlock poisoning, maintain the airway, obtain IV access, and assist with ventilation as needed.

  • Administer activated charcoal if the patient is able to protect the airway and presents within 1 hour of ingestion. Ipecac should not be used.
  • Caution should be exercised in patients exposed to water hemlock because they are at increased risk of having seizures, and can eventually aspirate the charcoal.
  • Get to an emergency room….


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