May 022018
 

This shiny, invasive vine results in an extremely itchy rash that spreads rapidly and seems to take forever to go away, can be avoided if you know what to look for. Here are some tips for staying away from poison ivy this summer, and what to do if you get it.

“Leaves of three, leave them be.” That’s great advice, especially when there is always a chance that you might make contact with everybody’s least favorite plant -poison ivy. This shiny, invasive vine results in an extremely itchy rash that spreads rapidly and seems to take forever to go away, can be avoided if you know what to look for. Below, some tips for staying away from poison ivy this summer, and what to do if you get it.

What’s the difference between poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac?

Shiny, dark green leaves, in clusters of three. This is the basic description of poison ivy. Most people know that there are two other types of poison plants which all release the same toxic substance – urushiol – that causes the terrible rash and itch. They are poison oak and poison sumac, indigenous to different climates. All three of these plants that cause the dreaded itching rash are found in the United States.

This shiny, invasive vine results in an extremely itchy rash that spreads rapidly and seems to take forever to go away, can be avoided if you know what to look for. Here are some tips for staying away from poison ivy this summer, and what to do if you get it.

These three plants all look similar, and all release the same toxin, urushiol, which is an oil that spreads easily from skin to skin contact and through contact with contaminated clothing, pets, personal belongings and even bars of soap.

Poison sumac grows as a bush, with stems that contain the telltale shiny dark green leaves, but they are arranged in pairs rather than in threes, like poison ivy.

Poison oak and poison ivy grow in a vine-like formation.

All three of these types of poison plants are invasive, which means they crop up like weeds pretty much anywhere that they are permitted to thrive.

How to get rid of poison ivy around your property:

Before undertaking poison ivy removal, you’ll want to don protective clothing. Wear heavy pants and long sleeves that cover your arms and legs. Also put on thick socks and boots, as well as thick, protective gloves.

You can either use an herbicide to kill the plants before removing them, or you can don the aforementioned thick, protective gloves and outwear and pull poison ivy out at the root. This is a task that’s best not procrastinated, as poison ivy is not easy to pull out and disposal can also be a big job in itself.

After removing poison ivy from your yard, take precautions to prevent the oil from spreading to various parts of your body and by way of your clothing. Immediately place clothing into the wash, and clean with detergent. Thoroughly wash your hands using a liquid soap or detergent. If you think your pet has come into contact with poison ivy, clean him or her as well.

Even jackets, shoes, and gardening tools can still have traces of the uroshiol toxin that remain for years if not properly cleaned. As soon as possible, wash these items, including shoelaces, to avoid further spreading of the poison ivy toxin.

This shiny, invasive vine results in an extremely itchy rash that spreads rapidly and seems to take forever to go away, can be avoided if you know what to look for. Here are some tips for staying away from poison ivy this summer, and what to do if you get it.

Symptoms of poison ivy:

Contact with poison ivy, poison sumac and poison oak results in a raised red rash that spreads and “weeps”. The rash can take weeks to heal as it spreads to various parts of the body causing extreme itching and discomfort.

What to do if you develop poison ivy:

Poison ivy may start as a rashy patch on one area of the body, such as between the fingers, and spread gradually. To prevent it from spreading and to relieve the unbearable itch, apply calamine lotion to affected areas. There are also “barrier” creams designed to prevent the spread of this annoying rash.

Other ways to relieve reactions to poison ivy:

Hydrocortisone creams may reduce discomfort due to a poison ivy outbreak. Since the reaction to the poison ivy toxin is generally an allergy, an antihistamine is a good choice for keeping symptoms to a minimum.

If you get poison ivy bad, like my husband does, you might have to see a doctor and get a prescription for steroids, but your doctor will determine the best course of action for you.

  28 Responses to “Avoiding Poison Ivy This Summer”

  1. Woooo, I starred at it hard as I’ll be off to the Mountains tomorrow where I’m sure bounds of it will be. Great article here!!

  2. It’s crazy how common poison ivy is but I’m glad it’s somewhat easy to spot. This is good advice. I want to avoid that rash. It’s a nightmare!

  3. So important and I always forget about poison ivy! Thank you for the reminder. We live near so many parks so this is something we need to be careful of!

  4. My husband is so allergic to poison ivy. I have luckily avoided it.

  5. These are such great tips! My son wound up getting it last year in camp. Getting that phone call was not fun!

  6. This is one of the things that you don’t want to encounter during the summer. This post is a great guide on how to deal with poison ivy and how to identify it as well!

  7. My brother’s house has poison ivy popping up nearby frequently. With young children he’s diligent to remove it. All I really knew about it came from Fancy Nancy: Poison Ivy Expert. Being more aware, I can share your tips with my brother.

  8. I’ve never been afflicted and neither have the kids, knock on wood. I’m happy now to be able to identify the leaves! Thanks for the pics and the info.

  9. I have heard how unpleasant it is to have poison ivy and I don’t want it. I’ve heard the leaves of 3 let them be thing over the years so will hopefully remember it if I ever encounter any.

  10. Leaves of three let it be was what we were always reminded of as kids. Good information to know this time of year and all summer long.

  11. These are wonderful tips. It’s so easy to forget about poison ivy until someone gets it.

  12. Oh yikes, I always worry about this. My daughter loves to explore, so I can so see her getting poison ivy. I’ll have to make sure we have cream in the house just in case.

  13. This is always a discussion every summer with my friends: who of actually know how to spot poison ivy. And also, what do the rashes look like? Finally, we have our answers!

  14. Good article! I’ve battled poison ivy ever we bought the place where we are now. There are lots of woods and poison ivy and poison oak are plentiful. After getting poison ivy and dealing with taking steroids I have learned about covering up and can spot the evil vine quickly.

  15. I don’t think I have any poison ivy on my property but now I finally have seen what the leaves look like. I will try and be careful to avoid these three plants at all costs.

  16. This is definitely something I need to patent into. I’m about to go to state with a lot of poison ivy and I just didn’t know what it look like. I have never had poison ivy and I’m hoping I never do.

  17. Thankfully I have never come across poison ivy before and I’m hoping to keep it that way. These sound like some tips I will most definitely keep in mind.

  18. This is such important information! We do a lot of active sports, hiking, swimming and camping in the summer so having information like this is super helpful. Thank you!

  19. Great tips on how to avoid PI. I never got hit with poison ivy and I never want to!

  20. I’ve been very lucky to never come in contact with poison ivy, but then again, I don’t go outside much lol.

  21. I have never experienced the itchiness of poison ivy, but it’s always my fear. This is good to know!

  22. These are all great tips for avoiding poison ivy! I am super allergic to it and try to avoid it at all costs!!

  23. I didn’t use to be allergic to all these poison plants, but I got into some as an adult and whoa. I didn’t get out of bed for weeks. I was given so much drugs to fight the infection I got. I never scratched but there were layers and layers of blisters. This was years ago, like nearly 30, and it hasn’t happened like this again.

  24. This is a very useful and informative post. We do not have Poison Ivy in our parts, but heard a lot about it. This is very useful information to know.

  25. Indeed this is a good read. I must confess, I am totally not aware on how to distinguish poison ivy so this is a great way for me to be more informed.

  26. I never knew about the poison sumac so thank you for this info. My kids have sever reaction with poison ivy so I always on the lookout for it when we are outdoors.

  27. I’m so happy I came a cross on this post, we have an acre land in the back with few trees I’ve seen some leave almost similar to the above photo. But I can’t tell if it is really an ivy. Very helpful I have to show this to my husband.

  28. What’s that saying “Leaves of 3, let ’em be”. I am always cautious when I see leaves of three. Sometimes it’s just plain ivy but it could be poison ivy. I don’t really know how to tell the difference so I just leave it alone.

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