During the summer months, we spend a lot of time outdoors taking advantage of the warm weather and our leisure time! One of the dangers of enjoying nature is when we run into the unpleasant and dangerous effects of poison ivy!

This plant, native to North America and Asia is known to cause eruptions in the skin leading to itching, irritation, and sometimes a painful touch. These rashes are caused by the urushiol, a clear fluid compound in the sap of the plant. The important thing is to know what it looks like, as it may vary its appearance! Despite the name, this native plant is not an Ivy and serves as food for many animals, including birds.

How to recognize it?

In addition to poison ivy there are two other species: Poison oak and poison sumac.

Poison Ivy grows as a shrub or vine and sprouts yellow-green colored flowers during spring. It can also have berries, which are green-white during the autumn. Each leaf has 3 leaflets.

poison-ivy

Poison oak grows as a shrub. It can have berries, which are yellow-whitish in color. Each leaf has 3 leaflets.

Poison sumac grows as a tall shrub or small tree. Each leaf has a row of leaflet pairs and one at the end.

Often, the leaves have black spots, and may have yellow-whitish berries.

The rashes caused by exposure, look like blisters and are relatively simple to treat at home. However, this can result in complications, which require higher treatment options.

When to visit the doctor!

If the rash spreads or many blisters erupt over your body, if you experience swelling especially around the eyes or in sensitive areas like the face or genitals, if you have difficulty breathing or swallowing…it’s time to visit the doctor! In general, they will administer a treatment designed to reduce and eradicate the rashes, which will fade as the days go by. But don’t just leave it! It can be very dangerous!

You may also visit the doctor if you don’t know how to treat the rashes, don’t feel capable of dealing with the situation, or if you’re not sure it was caused by poison ivy. When in doubt always ask a professional!

If you’re sure the rashes are caused by poison ivy and catch it in time (you have it contained), treat it at home by following these simple steps:

-Rinse the skin with warm, soapy water. It is important to do this, because if any part of the oil remains on the body, it can spread to another person or to other parts of the body!

-Wash the clothing that came into contact with the plant and any object that had contact with the same. You can have an allergic reaction just by touching the gardening tools or even the skin of a pet, which came into contact with the plant!

– Don’t scratch and leave your blisters alone! You can cause an infection!

-To relieve the itching, take short, warm baths with colloidal oatmeal flour. Cold compresses or short, cool baths can also help soothe the itching.

-You can treat the rashes with calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream. Consult with your pharmacist before using!

If you have any doubts or if the rash prolongs for some time or through the skin, consult with a doctor!

It is important to check where you live to see if any of these species are nearby! You can tear it out from the roots using gardening gloves, and then throw them away after the job is done. Don’t burn the plant! Why? Because you can have an allergic reaction when the urushiol is released into the air!

If you see the plant, stay away! Use some sunscreen with bentoquatam to prevent rashes if you come into contact with the plant by accident.

I hope that this information has been interesting!

Best wishes!