Weeding Out Poison Ivy

What starts off as a pleasant hike in the woods, gardening on a warm, sunny day, or even cuddling with a beloved pet can dissolve into an itchy red rash. Poison ivy strikes again.

The rash caused by poison ivy is an allergic skin reaction to an oily resin found in the plant. The rash is often red, causing itching, swelling, blisters, and occasionally difficulty breathing.

Learning to identify the poison ivy plant is the first step in prevention. Poison ivy is a green plant with three leaves per stalk.

Remember: Leaves of three, leave it be! If you know you will be outdoors in an area where poison ivy is likely present, wear protective clothing like long sleeves, pants, boots and gloves. If you have found poison ivy growing in your garden or on your land, you can always try to remove the plant—but be sure to wear protective clothing and immediately clean your skin as well as any objects that came into contact with the plant afterward.

If you come into contact with the plant, try to wash the contact area immediately. However, direct contact with the plant is not the only way to contract the rash. It can be spread by touching an object, person, pet, or other part of the body that has contacted the plant, as well as inhaling smoke from a burning plant.

The best way to treat the rash is with soothing lotions or baths. If your rash has pus or you have serious difficulty breathing, consult a doctor. Learn to prevent contact with the plant to avoid the pain of poison ivy.

Never burn poison ivy! The oily resin urushiol that causes the allergic reactions can be released into the air through smoke.

Content by Lockton Dunning Benefits with info from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/poison-ivy/symptoms-causes/syc-20376485