Don’t Touch Poison Ivy
Our wonderful wooded landscape is what sets our community apart from
most of our neighboring communities. As the summer months draw forward,
our urban forests, trees and shrubs continue their annual growth cycle.
Residents are always eager to remove out of control weeds and plants
from landscape areas surrounding their homes.
Residents are urged to be careful while
weeding, mowing or during routine up-keep around their homes. A study
showed that 75% of those randomly poled did not know what poison ivy
looked like. Poison ivy comes from the family Anacardiaceae (sumac
family), native to North America. The leaves of poison ivy are composed
of three smooth leaflets, which turns a vivid red during the autumn
You can get poison ivy by touching it
directly, or touching something that has come into contact with it such
clothing, tools or your dog. You can also catch poison ivy by breathing
in smoke from firewood burning with poison ivy on it.
After an area of your skin has been
exposed to poison ivy you should immediately rinse the area on your skin
with lots of cold water. “Do Not” use hot water when trying to get the
poison ivy oil off of your skin. The hot water will open your skin pores
letting the oil into skin. You can also use rubbing alcohol to help
remove the oil from your skin; however, after a ˝ hour the oil has
already soaked into your skin and can’t be removed.
If you have not removed the poison ivy
oil in a timely manor, that area of your skin will eventually become
extremely itchy followed by a “severe rash”. You should contact your
doctor immediately if these symptoms are present. The rash will last
anywhere from a week to 3 weeks, depending on how bad it is and how you
treat it. Your doctor may prescribe you
medication that may make the rash go away faster.
Here are some home remedies that can help
ease discomfort from poison ivy:
-Take a shower in the hottest water
you can stand for as long as you can stand it. The hot water will
ease the itch and help your skin feel better only for a few hours.
-If the heat from the water eases your rash, you can also try a hair
dryer, but ‘BE CAREFUL”. Don’t burn yourself.
-Jewelweed is widely thought to help the rash. Mash some stems and
leaves of the weed and apply it to the rash on your skin.
Please don’t try any home remedies
without consulting your primary care physician first.