Tag Archives: Local Parks

The hidden dangers of fine hairs in the gardens and parks

There are two major warnings that I want to warn you about for your child playing in the parks and gardens here in Firenze and Italy.  Located in these places are a plant and insect with problematic hairs on them. These are a major do not go near or touch for your child.

The first is Ortica (stinging nettle).  It is a plant that if touched will burn like a jellyfish.  I had totally forgot to remind my nephew not to touch them and at one point, he comes over crying because he was burning from touching this plant.  I feel bad because he is a child that loves to touch nature, plants, bugs, trees etc.

The burn does go away after a while but it will take some time.  The entire area can have a bloated look with inflammation surrounded by a red halo.  The itching, burning, pain, and irritation can be quite intense but can vary from person to person.  This is one plant. If your child rolls in a bunch of it or walks in it with shorts, he/she will be in horrible pain. Now, I know you can eat this but you need to collect it with gloves and cook it before using in foods.

If your child does touch Ortica, try not to touch or rub the affected area for 10 minutes. Immediately pour cold water on the skin without rubbing it with your fingers. Best is to keep any bare skin away from the area to prevent spreading and irritating the area more. Although the pain can be intense in the first few minutes, do not touch or rub to prevent painful sensations that can cause trouble for days. Then wash with soap and water to remove the chemicals released from the plant that is causing the pain, swelling, redness, and itching. In many cases, once the area has been washed, the pain should go away completely or at least reduced a lot. Use a clean cloth, if you do not have water and soap on hand, and gently remove dirt and debris from the area. You can also apply adhesive tape (not sure this will work on little children); this is to pluck the little hairs off the infected area of the skin.

The Lapazio (Dock) plant, which usually grows in the same area as Ortica, is stated as quick balm to put on the infected area caused by Ortica. Lapazio plant has leaves are very large, oval and with rounded tips.  The leaf of Lapazio has a wave-shaped edge with the lower leaf having a reddish color at the stem section. If you see this plant nearby and know it is Lapazio, you should grind some leaves and apply to the affected area. If your child has plant allergies, I would not use this on them.

The next is the Pine Processionary Caterpillar (processionarie) seen around March to June. This caterpillar reminds me of the tent caterpillar from my home in NJ that I used to collect in a jar and wait until it hatched into a moth. Unfortunately, though they are in the same species, they are not the same when it comes to collecting caterpillars. This particular tent caterpillar will line up when walking in a long row.  They look harmless but they are anything but and those little hairs on them will generate a big rash and eye irritations if touched. These hairs can be found also off the caterpillar in the leaves and grass around where they walk.   If your child is allergic to them, they will have an allergic response of cough, difficulty breathing, and bubble blisters on arms and/or hands. If your child touches one of these, you should apply the same steps as above with Ortica except the Dock. Wash with soap and water and do not touch the area with bare hands.   Then call your doctor to get any further treatments.  If your child has symptoms of an allergic reaction, take them to the emergency room immediately.

It is best when your child is young to show pictures or even the real live thing mentioning very strongly to not touch them that they will feel pain. It worked really well with my children. They recognized it immediately and mentioned it to you when they see them.

****On a side note: these are also a big problem for animals so keep an eye on your cat and dogs.

 

Recent News article on children in Hospital Meyer because of the Processionary caterpillar

Ortica photo:
http://www.actaplantarum.org/floraitaliae/viewtopic.php?t=14088

Processionary Caterpillars photo:
http://www.lost-in-france.com/living-in-france/pets/805-processionary-caterpillars
http://facultyweb.cortland.edu/fitzgerald/PineProcessionary.html

Dock photo:
http://erenovable.com/9-malas-hierbas-en-el-jardin-que-son-comestibles/rumex-crispus-lengua-de-vaca/

Park Pettini, Our Local Streets and Mayor Renzi

The park that we so love and have used many times for our outdoor events has been being slowly brought down to it’s bare minimum.  As you can see here by these past posts:

Raccolta firme per l’Area Pettini Burresi

Mamme per Firenze

Our very own Events Administrator, Jill Romanelli has been trying hard to save the parks in our city. She even wrote to the Major in the Florentine:

Matteo Renzi answers a reader’s query about improving Florence’s parks

We need to get on board and fight for our children’s playground not the touristic parks like the rose garden, iris garden, Boboli etc Parks that children have play grounds with apparatuses so they can learn and develop their skills.  When he mentions 

park or garden no more than 10 minutes away 

I hope he is not counting the dog parks, most of them are not fit for children running around or rolling in the grass. 

I am not happy with his response to her question or even other serious questions in the past.  I had mentioned  the light issues and street issues in a past letter as well:

Write the Mayor  dated June 7th 2012 

My main question was this and I wrote on behalf of the Network:

Consider just one example where lights are needed: Where via Giovanni Della Casa merges onto via Pisana and then onto via Aleardi, there is one light on the connection of viale Ludovico Ariosto. Cars and motorcycles race down those streets to the light on that corner, yet many children have to cross via Pisana and Aleardi in those areas (in front of the Esselunga, to piazza Pier Vettori, Monte Oliveto) to go to and from the schools at Gramsci, Petrarca and other schools. Moreover, the pedestrian call button at that light has been nonfunctioning for almost a year. There is no light on via Felice Cavallotti, where just crossing from one side to the other is a big problem during rush-hour traffic. Parents complain that the area is very dangerous for their children. I myself have almost been hit by cars passing the lone motorist who obeys the rules and has yielded to the pedestrian in the cross walk. What can be done about these dangerous areas, especially for our children going and coming from school?

Since his response of great concern, nothing has changed in the area I mentioned where a few schools are located and many children go to these schools.  The cars still have access to zoom down the street to come to a stop suddenly if the light so happens to change by the 20 minute timer it has on it.  The button still does not work.  

Here is project David that received 25 million for the streets.  Anyone else see any wonderful changes because of this project?

Progetto David, dalle multe 25 milioni per la sicurezza stradale

Truthfully I feel that our concerns for safety of the children and the welfare of families is completely ignored but there is a money hungry desire to bring tourist into the city. 

What are your concerns and how do you feel?