Gardening, pruning, lawn care, and other outdoor activities may put you uncomfortably close to a poisonous plant. This time of year: poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac, and other less common allergenic plants are full of an oily sap, known as Urushiol. These plants grow in every state throughout the US, except Alaska. Direct contact with any portion of a plant containing the poisonous sap can produce irritating symptoms that typically last for one to two weeks.
Keeping an eye out for these plants, and avoiding contact is the best way to prevent getting poison ivy. Poison ivy generally grows as a vine, and can be identified by its cluster of three leaves. The leaves on Poison oak resemble lobed oak leaves. It grows in threes on a bush, instead of a vine. Poisonous sumac grows as a small tree or bush, and has an odd number of leaves, ranging from seven to thirteen. Poison ivy thrives in partially shaded areas.
You can also get poison ivy by touching a gardening tool, gloves, or clothing that made contact with the plant’s oily sap. Petting your dog or cat, after it brushed against the plant, is another way to get poison ivy.
Some people are more sensitive, and susceptible to poison ivy than others. How your body responds depends on the immune system. A mild case of poison ivy usually clears within a week. The rash and itching may spread to various parts of your body during the process. In more severe cases, there may be blisters, a burning, itchy, red rash, fever, and swelling. Scratching the itching rash is difficult to avoid, but doing so can cause inflammation, and the rash spreading to other parts of your body. Seek a physician’s care for severe cases of poison ivy, especially those that involve swelling and fever.
How to Prevent, Relieve and Heal Mild Poison Ivy –
Try one or more of these natural home remedies.
Stock your herbal medicine cabinet with the above healing products, so they will be there as soon as needed. The sooner you start treatment, the better. I had mild poison ivy recently. No blisters, fever, or swelling, just a mild rash and a little itching that I was able to curtail using many of the remedies listed above. Fortunately, we keep most of these items on hand.
Here's to enjoying the great outdoors and taming your landscape this summer without suffering a bout of poison ivy.
About the Author:
Deborah Tukua is a nonfiction author, and editor of Journey to Natural Living. She is author of seven books including, Naturally Sweet Blender Treats: 55 Fresh from the Blender Recipes, and Marketing Strategies for Chiropractic Success. Deborah has been a regular lifestyle feature writer for the Farmers' Almanac since 2004.
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