Doctors later found that the giant hogweed caused Alex Childress to suffer second- and third-degree burns on his face and arm.
Giant hogweed has a watery, clear sap that makes the skin more sensitive to sunlight. The combination of sap moisture and sun can cause painful blisters and lead to permanent scarring.
The plant should only be handled with protective clothing and eye protection, experts say.
Last month, giant hogweed was spotted in Virginia for the first time.
Giant Hogweed can be found in the New England, Mid-Atlantic and Northwest areas of the country, according to Snopes.
It has been found in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Washington, New York, Maryland, Oregon, Michigan, Virginia, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, CBS News reported. The plant can also be found in Massachusetts, according to the Massachusetts Introduced Pests Outreach Project.
Childress was discharged from the hospital Thursday and will have to avoid the sun for the rest of the summer.
Due to his injuries, Childress won’t be able to work this summer. He doesn’t have medical insurance.
He is planning to begin attending Virginia Tech in the fall.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help pay for his medical costs.
"I have a scholarship to Virginia Tech with the Army ROTC but I may end up losing it now because of medical disqualification," he wrote on GoFundMe. "If you can help it would be great. I will use any funds for supplies for college if I can still attend this fall, and medical bills from being in the Burn ICU."
The fundraiser for Childress has raised over $4,000 so far.