Dealing With Poison Ivy
At any time in your life, you can become allergic to poison ivy, oak, and sumac.
These plants contain an oil called urushiol, which is found in all parts of the
plant. It's this oil that gives you the rash. If you've been around these
plants, wash everything as soon as you come inside to get rid of the oil right
Remember these three things about poison ivy, oak, and
Learn to recognize the leaves of
the plants so that you can avoid contact with them. Poison ivy has medium-sized
leaves that are shiny and cluster in threes. Often there is a slight groove in
the leaf, giving it the look of vaguely having a thumb.
If you think you will be in an
area that has these plants, apply Ivy Block before you go out. This can prevent
the rash from developing, or make the rash less severe if it does develop. If
you think you have been exposed, within two hours wash with soap and water,
apply rubbing alcohol to your skin, or try washing with Tecnu soap.
A poison ivy rash generally lasts
about two weeks. Over-the-counter remedies, like calamine lotion, can offer
temporary relief in most cases, but there is no cure for this supremely itchy
condition. It's important to keep the rash clean, especially if it begins to
ooze, to prevent infection. If the rash is severe, develops on your face or
genitals, or if you have a fever or have difficulty breathing, see your doctor
for additional treatment.
Sources: American Academy of Dermatology; American Academy of Pediatrics; American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons; American Camping Association; American Red Cross; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; K. Handal, The American Red Cross. First Aid and Safety Book. Little, Brown and Company, 1992; Marion County Children’s Services; Medical College of Wisconsin; National Highway Transportation Administration; The National Institutes of Health; National Safe Kids Foundation; The National Safety Council; Students Against Destructive Decisions; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency;