Poison Ivy

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This blog post is going to be all about Poison Ivy. Toxicodendron Radicans more commonly known as the dreaded Poison Ivy causes red itchy welts and angry painful rashes.   I have been spending lots of time outside in tall grass around fields and beds of Poison Ivy at Minute Man National Park and I can tell you first hand about the terrible effects of coming in contact with this plant’s oils. Poison Ivy can be identified by the “leaves of three”. It can grow close to the ground or be a climbing vine. Usually it grows in clusters, and the climbing vines have leaves with little hairs used to climb and grip. Poison Ivy contains an oil called urushial which is harmless until it comes in contact with human skin. 85% of people are allergic to urushial. It is important to wash the oils off right away with soap and cold water. Products like Tecnu soap wash away the toxic oils on skin, clothes and tools. Oils can linger on clothing, boots, and tools for up to 4 years if not washed properly. It is important to take precautionary measures to avoid the harmful effects of this plant if you know you are at risk of being exposed- such as wearing long sleeves, pants and gloves. When returning from the field, it is important to wash your hands, shower off, and clean your clothes properly to reduce chances of having an itchy reaction.

6 responses to “Poison Ivy

  1. And there is poison oak. Oh, even foxglove can cause one to get itchty. We had a staff member help make bouquets for a memorial service held in our carriage house and garden last month.
    She cut blue flowers for me, then a day later she got a rash from the cat mint or the Salvia Rose Queen. They have fragrant, hairy leaves that can be scratchy. She had tender skin so she got a rash.
    It is better now.

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  2. Every time I see a picture of poison ivy it looks different than what I previously thought. That can’t be a good thing…

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    • Poison ivy, poison sumac, and poison oak. I see a lot of Virginia creeper that has also been known to cause allergic reactions to VERY sensitive skin.

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  3. Ah, the dreaded poison ivy. I was recently talking to someone who told me a story about a friend of theirs who claimed he wasn’t allergic to poison ivy. To prove it, his friend grabbed a big bunch of it and rubbed it all over his stomach and chest…two days later he was covered with a rash over most of his body, yikes! It’s so important to be familiar with how to identify poison ivy so you can stay clear of it!

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    • That’s crazy Charlie!! Only a rare amount of people are not allergic to poison ivy. Many people think they are not allergic to poison ivy because they come in contact with just a little urushiol oil which to some won’t effect. a lot of urushiol oil can make just about anyone break out except for that lucky small percent of non allergic. Poison ivy is definitely a plant to stay clear of!!

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