Health 550 results

THURSDAY: ‘Angst’ screening to raise awareness about anxiety

Whatever your age – you can be afflicted by anxiety. The film “Angst seeks to raise awareness about it and what you can do – and this week you’re invited to a free local screening, 6:30 pm Thursday (October 18th):

Join Denny International Middle School for a special screening of Angst: Raising Awareness Around Anxiety, a film created to break the stigma around anxiety and open up the conversation around mental health.

Filmmakers believe there is power in watching as a community; power to change and permission to talk about it. The fifty-three minute film will be followed by a moderated discussion with mental health and school professionals.

This film will be sub-titled in Spanish. Appropriate for ages 10+. Childcare will be provided for children 4 to 10 years old.

Everyone’s invited, not just students and families. The auditorium is on the west side of the campus, at 2600 SW Thistle.

BIZNOTE: Skin Care by Casey expands hours

Skin Care by Casey (4509 44th SW; WSB sponsor) is welcoming new team member Emma, and her arrival means expanded hours, including weekends and evenings! You can read about her here. New hours for Skin Care by Casey:

Monday 10-7
Tuesday 9-9
Wednesday 9-9
Thursday 9-9
Friday 11-4
Saturday 10-4
Sunday 10-4

Proprietor Casey Rasmussen adds, “Any clients scheduling their first treatment with Emma through 11/30 will receive 25% off by mentioning WSB.” (Cancellation policy applies.) You can book online by going here.

An update from Click! Design That Fits, featuring Frances Smersh on West Seattle Art Walk night, 3 years into her Alzheimer’s journey

The cover image for the map/postcard promoting this quarter’s West Seattle Art Walk events – starting with tomorrow night’s WSAW – always has a backstory. This time around, there’s a lot to tell.

The image is a painting by Frances Smersh, the West Seattle artist who is co-proprietor of Junction shop Click! Design That Fits (WSB sponsor) with her husband John Smersh. She is also this month’s featured WSAW artist there, so you can visit Frances and her work there Thursday night (October 11th) 5-8 pm.

In conjunction with the showcase, Click! has an update for the community about the personal news they first shared three years ago – that Frances is living with younger-onset Alzheimer’s Disease.

Writing on the Click! blog this week, they explain that the disease has continued to progress. “This last year Frances has struggled with more challenges that the disease has presented, and found that art is an area that she can still thrive. … With painting as her primary focus for most of the last year, she’s produced an impressive body of work!”

You can see the show during tomorrow’s Art Walk. The update continues, “She has titled her show ‘With a Little Help from my Friends,’ an acknowledgement of the extra assistance she now needs.”

After details on how Frances is doing now, the update explain how that assistance is more vital than ever:

If you or someone you know would enjoy spending time or sharing a meal with (or providing a meal for) Frances, please reach out to John and let him know what you would be up for. She loves being with people and is pretty game for most activities. Friends have started a GoFundMe page in hopes of helping with some of the extra expenses they now face; donations of any amount are hugely appreciated.

Read the full update here. And go see Frances’s show at Click! on Thursday night, 4540 California SW, 5-8 pm.

ALERT: Health authorities add West Seattle shores to unsafe-shellfish warning

Announced this morning by King County Public Health:

Paralytic shellfish poison (PSP) has been detected at unsafe levels along Alki Beach south to the Pierce County line as well as on all Vashon-Maury Island beaches. As a result, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has closed these shores to recreational shellfish harvest.

The closure includes all species of shellfish including clams, geoduck, scallops, mussels, oysters, snails and other invertebrates; the closure does not include crab or shrimp. Crabmeat is not known to contain the PSP toxin, but the guts can contain unsafe levels. To be safe, clean crab thoroughly and discard the guts (“butter”). Working with partners, Public Health – Seattle & King County is posting advisory signs at beaches warning people to not collect shellfish.

Commercial beaches are sampled separately and commercial products should be safe to eat.

Anyone who eats PSP-contaminated shellfish is at risk for illness. PSP poisoning can be life-threatening and is caused by eating shellfish containing this potent neurotoxin. A naturally occurring marine organism produces the toxin. The toxin is not destroyed by cooking or freezing.

A person cannot determine if PSP toxin is present by visual inspection of the water or shellfish. For this reason, the term “red tide” is misleading and inaccurate. PSP can only be detected by laboratory testing.

Symptoms of PSP usually begin 30-60 minutes after eating the contaminated shellfish, but may take several hours. Symptoms are generally mild, and begin with numbness or tingling of the face, arms, and legs. This is followed by headache, dizziness, nausea, and loss of muscle coordination. Sometimes a floating sensation occurs. In cases of severe poisoning, muscle paralysis and respiratory failure occur, and in these cases death may occur in 2 to 25 hours.

If symptoms are mild, call your health care provider or Washington Poison Center (800-222-1222), and Public Health (206-296-4774). If symptoms are severe, call 911 or have someone take you to the emergency room immediately.

Recreational shellfish harvesting can be closed due to rising levels of PSP at any time. Therefore, harvesters are advised to call the DOH Biotoxin Hotline at 800-562-5632 or visit the Shellfish safety website before harvesting shellfish anywhere in Puget Sound.

Here’s how you can help West Seattle firefighters ‘Fill the Boot’

September 10, 2018 10:03 pm
|    Comments Off on Here’s how you can help West Seattle firefighters ‘Fill the Boot’
 |   Health | How to help | West Seattle news

ladder11boot(September 2016 WSB photo)

For the next four days, you’ll see firefighters in The Junction … on a special call: Collecting donations for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. California/Alaska is one of five spots around the city where the annual Fill the Boot drive will be happening 9 am-7 pm Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday (September 11th-14th). More info is on SFD’s Fireline website; if you choose to donate, here’s what your dollars will help do.

Sign up ASAP to save your space! Free ‘Mental Health First Aid’ training in West Seattle

September 7, 2018 10:01 am
|    Comments Off on Sign up ASAP to save your space! Free ‘Mental Health First Aid’ training in West Seattle
 |   Health | West Seattle news

The announcement was sent by Southwest Precinct Crime Prevention Coordinator Jennifer Danner:

Sometimes first aid isn’t about a bandage, or CPR or calling 911. Sometimes, first aid is you!

A person you know could be experiencing a mental health or substance abuse problem. Learn an action plan to help! You are more likely to encounter someone in an emotional or mental crisis than someone having a heart attack. Learn how to help a friend, family member, coworker or neighbor in need. Get trained in Mental Health First Aid.

When: Saturday, October 6th 8 am- 5 pm
Where: Seattle Police Department’s SW Precinct (2300 SW Webster St)
Register: Sue Wyder – 253-426-5957 or swyder@valleycities.org

Training provided by King County at no charge. Lunch will be provided. See attached flyer for more information.

SMOKE: Brief West Seattle encore

September 6, 2018 9:45 pm
|    Comments Off on SMOKE: Brief West Seattle encore
 |   Health | West Seattle news | West Seattle weather

Thanks to Dan Ciske for capturing the smoky sunset from Upper Alki. After a brief return of unhealthy-for-some air quality – blamed largely on a fire near Mount Rainier – it’s supposed to be improving right now.

BIZNOTE: Project 968 adds new fitness options & studio location that you can try, free

(Photo courtesy Project 968: Recent barre class @ Project Studio)

Project 968 (4617 37th SW; WSB sponsor) is expanding! Proprietor Michael Browder‘s fitness business in The Triangle has added a new studio location at 5621 Delridge Way SW, and new classes that you are invited to try for free over the next week and a half. Michael says the new Project Studio is “our new location for unlimited barre, yoga and Pilates classes that will sculpt, strengthen and stretch your body. Through September 7th, we are offering free classes and special limited pricing to the community to check out the new space, and services. Check out our schedule and contact us for a class. Space is limited.” Here’s the schedule of free classes:

Friday 8/31:
Barre @ 5:30 am
Barre @ 8:30 am

Monday 9/3:
Closed in observance of Labor Day

Tuesday 9/4:
Yoga @ 6 am
Barre @ 8:30 am
Pilates @ 9:45 am
Yoga @ 8 pm

Wednesday 9/5:
Yoga @ 6 am
Barre @ 8:30 am
Barre @ 6:30 pm

Thursday 9/6
Barre @ 5:30 am
Pilates @ 8:30 am
Yoga @ 8 pm

Friday 9/7
Barre @ 5:30 am
Barre @ 8:30 am
Yoga @ 8 pm

Contact info to book a spot in a free class (or find out about other Project 968 offerings) is here.

SMOKE: Some at sunset; maybe more tomorrow, ‘briefly’

August 28, 2018 8:42 pm
|    Comments Off on SMOKE: Some at sunset; maybe more tomorrow, ‘briefly’
 |   Health | West Seattle news | West Seattle weather

8:42 PM: Tonight’s pink setting sun was a reminder there’s still smoke in the area – while not enough to hamper cross-Sound visibility, the Olympics were mostly out of view. The Washington Smoke Information website says you can blame BC fires for that, and the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency adds:

We may see some smoke from the Vancouver Island fires Wednesday morning, which could cause levels to briefly reach MODERATE or UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS. Rain and clouds are expected to follow that evening and into Thursday which should keep our long-term AQ in the GOOD to MODERATE through Friday.

ADDED: Thanks to Tiff Rivera for these views of the sunset and moonrise:

SMOKE: Yes, it’s back

12:59 PM: Some have wondered if that’s really wildfire smoke, again, turning things hazy. Short answer: Yes. Longer answer: The Maple Fire on the Olympic Peninsula is largely to blame, along with ongoing British Columbia wildfires. And, says the Washington Smoke Information website, “This intermittent smoke we are experiencing should be expected through the weekend.” But it’s not expected to become anything resembling what blanketed us earlier this week, and we are not currently under an air-quality alert.

5:35 PM: As a commenter points out, things worsened in the past few hours since we published this. “Unhealthy for sensitive groups” is the predominant current rating.

10:10 PM: Added, smoky sunset photo by James Bratsanos.

SMOKE: Sunday’s Cosmo 7K postponed three weeks

August 22, 2018 11:52 am
|    Comments Off on SMOKE: Sunday’s Cosmo 7K postponed three weeks
 |   Health | West Seattle news | WS & Sports

(August 2017 Cosmo 7K photo by David Hutchinson)

Thanks to Molly for the tip! The Cosmo 7K – successor to what had been the Alki Beach 5K – has been postponed because of the wildfire smoke. It was set for this Sunday (August 26th), but race organizers sent e-mail to registered participants that even with the smoke expected to dissipate, “the current air conditions are unsafe and not something we can risk lingering through the weekend.” It’s been rescheduled to September 16th.

SMOKE: Another cancellation; newest forecast

Thanks to Keith Davidson for the sunset-and-heron photo from Beach Drive, near Cormorant Cove. We have two smoke-related notes as the night ends:

ANOTHER CANCELLATION: The city sent word tonight that the High Point Market Garden Farm Stand will NOT be open tomorrow because of the unhealthy air.

FORECAST UPDATE: Here’s what the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency is saying tonight:

Air pollution is still at UNHEALTHY levels throughout the Puget Sound region. With a high pressure weather system over our region pushing the smoke down, we expect UNHEALTHY levels to continue on well into tomorrow. We hope to see some clearing tomorrow night, but with all the smoke around the Pacific Northwest, it may take until Thursday to get cleaner air.

P.S. The heat is notable, too, says the National Weather Service:

SMOKE: Seattle Parks closing outdoor pools for rest of today, plus tomorrow

4:39 PM: Just announced by Seattle Parks: Because of the unhealthy air, it’s closing its outdoor pools as well as the remaining still-in-operation wading pools, through tomorrow. Colman Pool is closing at 4:45 pm, and wading pools (including Lincoln Park) were to begin draining an hour ago. (Sprayparks weren’t mentioned, so we’re checking on their status.)

5:06 PM: Parks’ Christina Hirsch replied that sprayparks are staying open. (West Seattle’s lone spraypark is in Highland Park at 1100 SW Cloverdale.)

SMOKE: Advice for protecting pets

With a little old indoor cat keeping us company here at WSB HQ, we’ve been wondering whether he’s feeling the effects of the smoky air too. No outward signs – he’s sleeping a lot, but well, he always sleeps a lot. Anyway, in case you also share your life with pets, here’s advice from the Seattle Animal Shelter on the best ways to protect their health while we’re blanketed in smoke.

Just announced: 2 places to ‘escape the smoke’

(WSB photo: Smoky Monday afternoon @ Alki Statue of Liberty Plaza)

First announcements of this type that we’ve received – and likely not the last – both just out of the WSB inbox. First, from West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) executive director Shalimar Gonzales:

With more fires cropping up in BC and surrounding areas, the smoke may be here for a while longer. The West Seattle Y is offering a respite for community members at our location on Snoqualmie Street. Our center is air-conditioned and offers free Wi-Fi.

This is an opportunity for us to pay back this special community. We are happy to open our doors to our neighbors to protect their health.

The use of these facilities is free to the public. YMCA lot parking regulations still apply. A government issued photo ID is required to enter the facility. If you are interested in getting a workout in, feel free to stop by our welcome center to get a free pass to use our facility.

And from St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church rector Rev. Kate Wesch:

Tuesday and Wednesday, August 21 and 22 from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Escape the smoke with children ages 0-5 who need to move at St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church

Do you have cabin fever with your little ones? Looking for some space to run around where the kids can play indoors away from the smoke? St. John’s is opening the Parish Hall, a large carpeted room, and will have a few large motor toys and blocks out. Come for an hour or stay all three. We’ll have coffee for the grown ups. St. John’s is located on the corner of California Ave SW and SW Hanford St. next door to WS High School. (3050 California Ave SW) Questions? 206-937-4545

Anybody else with something special to announce? westseattleblog@gmail.com – thanks!

HEALTH ALERT: Smoky air now ‘unhealthy’ everywhere; plus, burn ban ordered

Our photo taken a short time ago from Alki Avenue is about what you CAN’T see: Normally on a sunny summer day, looking across Puget Sound from that spot, you’d see Bainbridge Island, with the Olympic Mountains as a backdrop. Right now – that’s all entirely obscured. While visibility improved a little early this morning, this afternoon it’s worsened in a big way, and the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency has joined regional health departments in renewing their health alert:

Air pollution levels are rising across Puget Sound region again and levels are expected to be UNHEALTHY for everyone today. Smoke is expected to impact air quality over the next few days. Air pollution levels will rise and fall, so we encourage you check the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency air quality map to see the latest air quality nearest you.

Right now, the level is indeed UNHEALTHY in all directions. The Washington Smoke Information website says we can expect some clearing Thursday. Meantime, a Stage I burn ban has been ordered, to take effect at 5 pm. That means:

No outdoor burning during a Stage 1 air quality burn ban including:

• No charcoal barbecues or similar solid fuel devices
• No campfires or bonfires
• No fire pits, chimineas, fire bowls, or similar free-standing devices
• No fireplaces, uncertified wood stoves, or uncertified inserts*
• No agricultural fires (as described in the agricultural burn permit)
• Local fire districts do not grant Native American ceremonial fire permits outside of tribal lands during air quality burn bans.

It is OK to use natural gas and propane grills, stoves, or inserts during a Stage 1 burn ban.

* The only exception to using fireplaces and uncertified wood stoves or inserts, is if the homeowner has a previously approved ‘No Other Adequate Source of Heat’ exemption from the Clean Air Agency

UPDATE: Smoke’s back, and so is the health warning

5:23 PM: That’s the view from Don Armeni Boat Ramp, now that the wildfire smoke has moved back in as predicted. Also just in, this alert from the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency:

This is an air quality alert for August 19, 2018, from the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency and the local health jurisdictions of King, Kitsap, Pierce, and Snohomish counties. Air pollution is increasing due to wildfire smoke and may cause health problems.

Wildfire smoke is building across the Puget Sound Region. Air quality is becoming UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS in some areas already, and this is expected to spread to the rest of our region tonight or by Monday morning. With winds pushing smoke from British Columbia and the fires in the Cascades in our direction, we expect poor air quality to continue through Wednesday.

Current air quality levels in Darrington are UNHEALTHY for everyone. We could see levels become UNHEALTHY in other parts of our region over the next few days.

Check the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency’s website for the most recent conditions.

Wildfire smoke can cause a range of health problems:

Trouble breathing
Asthma attack
Coughing
Stinging eyes
Irritated sinuses
Headaches
Chest pain
Fast heartbeat

Sensitive groups should take precautions, including: children, older adults, and people that are pregnant, have heart or lung issues (such as asthma and COPD), or that have had a stroke.

Stay indoors when possible.

Limit your physical activity outdoors, such as running, bicycling, physical labor, and sports.

Close windows in your home, if possible, and keep the indoor air clean. If you have an air conditioner, use the “recirculation” switch. Use an indoor air filter if available.

If you do not have an air conditioner, consider finding a public place with clean, air-conditioned indoor air like a public library or a community center.

Avoid driving, when possible. If you must drive, keep the windows closed. If you use the car’s fan or air conditioning, make sure the system recirculates air from inside the car; don’t pull air from outside.

Schools and daycare providers should consider postponing outdoor activities or moving them indoors.
N95 or N100 rated masks can help protect some people from air pollution. These masks are usually available at hardware and home repair stores. Please check with your doctor to see if this appropriate for you.

For more information on ways to reduce your exposure, see the Washington Department of Health’s Smoke From Fire tips.

As always, check with your health-care provider for more specific questions and concerns.

6:48 PM: The PSCAA has updated the health alert and now says, “Air (pollution) levels are going up more quickly than expected in the Puget Sound Region and we are reaching levels UNHEALTHY for everyone in some areas. We recommend everyone stay indoors when possible.”

Smoky sky: Clearing the air in West Seattle and beyond – for a while

Still smoky at sunset, but clearer than it was last night – Bainbridge and other islands were visible from West Seattle’s west-facing shore, though the Olympic Mountains remained hidden by haze. The National Weather Service says “onshore flow” will continue clearing the air through tomorrow. The Washington Smoke Information website, however, says slightly ominously, “It may be short lived, but we expect at least a couple days of cleaner air coming up.” As for the fires themselves – they remain numerous; we note that one just past Hood Canal that we mentioned shortly after it started, when things first started getting smoky here nine days ago, is now past 1,300 acres.

West Seattle smoke: ‘Conditions may start to improve Wednesday’

That’s the view West Seattle pilot/photographer Long Bach Nguyen had of our peninsula last night … you can only imagine what it looks like tonight. Earlier today, he did get to fly above the wildfire smoke – here’s Mount Rainier (elevation 14,400+ feet) peeking above:

The National Weather Service’s “special weather statement” about the smoke does offer a bit of hope: “Conditions may start to improve Wednesday as an upper level trough begins to approach the area…bringing a better chance for increased onshore flow.” Meantime, Twitter users have been providing photographic perspective:



About the smoke itself – lots of updated info on the Washington Smoke Information website.

SURVEY: Southwest Seattle Youth Alliance has questions, seeks your answers

August 14, 2018 6:30 pm
|    Comments Off on SURVEY: Southwest Seattle Youth Alliance has questions, seeks your answers
 |   Health | How to help | West Seattle news

How much of a problem do alcohol and other drugs pose to youth in our community? A local group asks that question each year, and has just released this year’s survey:

The Southwest Seattle Youth Alliance, a school and community coalition formed to address the high rates of youth substance use in Southwest Seattle, would like your help in learning more about community concerns related to drugs and alcohol. The coalition will use these surveys to guide their work in selecting effective prevention programs and services for youth and the community. Please take a few minutes to complete this anonymous survey.

The survey starts here in English, and here in Spanish. The SWSYA says, “The data from these surveys will be used to implement evidence-based prevention programs in middle and high schools in the community.”

AIR-QUALITY ALERT: Wildfire smoke brings regional health warning

(Added: WSB photo, looking toward Vashon from Lowman Beach)

As this increasingly smoky day moves into late afternoon, an air-quality alert just arrived by e-mail, from the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency and health agencies around the metro area:

Air pollution is increasing due to wildfire smoke and may cause health problems.

We expect air quality to reach levels that are UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS overnight and into tomorrow in many areas. A high pressure system is pushing upper-level wildfire smoke down. Smoke from British Columbia and the Cascades is continuing to build in the Puget Sound region today. Winds tomorrow afternoon could help clean the air. Thankfully, we don’t expect this to last as long as it did last summer. We are forecasting for GOOD to MODERATE air quality Wednesday and beyond.

Wildfire smoke can cause a range of health problems:

Chest pain
Fast heartbeat
Coughing
Stinging eyes
Irritated sinuses
Headaches
Asthma attack
Trouble breathing

Sensitive groups should take precautions, including: children, older adults, and people that are pregnant, have heart or lung issues (such as asthma and COPD), or that have had a stroke.

Stay indoors when possible.

Limit your physical activity outdoors, such as running, bicycling, physical labor, and sports.

Close windows in your home, if possible, and keep the indoor air clean. If you have an air conditioner, use the “recirculation” switch. Use an indoor air filter if available.

If you do not have an air conditioner, consider finding a public place with clean, air-conditioned indoor air like a public library or a community center.

Avoid driving, when possible. If you must drive, keep the windows closed. If you use the car’s fan or air conditioning, make sure the system recirculates air from inside the car; don’t pull air from outside.
Schools and daycare providers should consider postponing outdoor activities or moving them indoors.

N95 or N100 rated masks can help protect some people from air pollution. These masks are usually available at hardware and home repair stores. Please check with your doctor to see if this appropriate for you. More information here.

For more information on ways to reduce your exposure, see the Washington Department of Health’s Smoke From Fire tips.

Air quality conditions may change quickly. Check the air quality forecast regularly at the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency’s website.

As always, check with your health care provider for more specific questions and concerns.

West Seattle scene: Tugboat ‘docks’ at Aegis Living of West Seattle

Though construction is complete at the new Aegis Living of West Seattle (4700 SW Admiral Way; WSB sponsor), a mobile crane was on the site today. Here’s what it was lifting:

That’s a replica of the tugboat Norene, which was the inspiration for the name of Aegis Living founder/CEO Dwayne Clark‘s mother-in-law. Her father had such an inspiring experience working aboard the tug in Puget Sound, he gave that name to his daughter, who is the mother of Dwayne Clark’s wife T Clark. The custom replica was brought in as a centerpiece of the new memory-care/assisted-living center’s Mediterranean theme, to anchor the courtyard on the west side of the complex.

Aegis Living expects its first West Seattle residents to move in soon, with a grand-opening celebration next month, and an open house announced for noon-4 pm August 25th. It’s been almost five years since Aegis Living bought the former Life Care Center site at 47th/Admiral/Waite.

Stalking giant hogweed – and other noxious weeds – in West Seattle

(Photos courtesy King County Noxious Weed Control)

King County Noxious Weed Control Program specialists were in West Seattle again today – for the second time this week, removing an infestation of a plant that’s one of the most noxious they tackle: Giant hogweed.

We contacted them after two WSB readers suggested we follow up on TV reports about a patch of this weed getting removed in West Seattle earlier this week. Sasha Shaw answered our inquiry and explained, it’s not that West Seattle is a particular hotbed of giant hogweed, but rather, the TV folks contacted her looking for a local angle on a story from the East Coast about someone getting badly burned by this weed, and it just so happened that West Seattle was where their most-recent report of a giant hogweed happened to be. Here’s a photo from that first stop, in the Genesee Hill area, on Tuesday:

Shaw is the communications specialist for the program, which is part of the county Natural Resources and Parks department. She explains, “Our program has the big job of stopping the spread of state-regulated noxious weeds such as giant hogweed throughout King County, including in the cities. For the Class A noxious weeds such as giant hogweed, which are limited in distribution in the state, we offer to help people with the control work because of the huge public benefit to stopping these highly invasive and damaging plants from becoming established. Giant hogweed also poses a serious health risk because of the potential of the sap to cause burns and blisters.”

(Here’s their info sheet about giant hogweed, so you can find out more about it.)

She also clarified that the removals in Genesee on Tuesday and Admiral today aren’t the first discoveries of this scary weed in our area: “We have responded to locations of this plant in West Seattle many times. It isn’t the neighborhood in Seattle with the most giant hogweed, but we have found several hundred sites there over the past 15 or so years that we have been working on this plant. We typically find some new sites every year, but more locations are closed than opened as the plants get controlled.”

She points out that you can use the county’s map to “zoom in and see the locations of all the giant hogweed sites we have found in West Seattle, as well as other regulated noxious weeds.” Go to https://gismaps.kingcounty.gov/iMap/ – and, she advises, “turn on the Noxious Weeds layer, select ‘Most Widespread Noxious Weeds,’ zoom in to West Seattle and look for the little green icons that look like pine trees.”

She continued: “At this point, most of the giant hogweed in West Seattle, and other parts of the city, is out of sight in ravines, alleys and backyards. Typically we find new sites when people contact us either about their own hogweed or their neighbor’s plants. Hogweed spends several years as small plants and can be inconspicuous especially in areas overgrown with other vegetation like blackberry. When they flower they are 10 to 15 feet tall so that is often when people discover them. Sometimes people get burned by the sap while working in the yard and then contact us to find out what they have. That’s what happened in the case of the West Seattle homeowner that was featured on KING5 News, although they actually got burned last year but didn’t know why until they found a flowering plant in their alley and identified it online. … People do get seriously burned by this plant so getting the word out as widely as possible is very important.” Also note, this is already toward the end of giant hogweed’s season, and most of the plants are dying back.

This isn’t the only “big problem” noxious weed/invasive plant out there – “but few that are regulated noxious weeds, highly dangerous to people and very invasive,” Shaw notes. We’re going to take her up on her offer to talk with us for a separate story about other weeds you should watch for. (You can start reading about them all here!)