- First Aid
Poison Ivy Rash Heals More With A Day at the Swimming Pool
Poison Ivy Growing Up A TreeClick thumbnail to view full-size
The Three P’s of Evil Vegetation are Poison Ivy, Poison Sumac, and Poison Oak.
Relative to the cashew, mango, and sumacs these less desirable plants cause an allergic reaction when making contact to the skin of many people like no other. Members of the Toxicodendron species , these plants have an oily residue (Urushiol) that when coming in contact with skin about 85% of most people have an allergic reaction within 1 to 12 hours of contact. The allergic reaction can be a small red patch of mild irritation to extreme itchy huge blistering sores that swell and ooze with infection. This oozing liquid will cause spreading of the blistering to other areas and to other people if coming in contact with the affected liquid. No matter what ridiculous rumors you've heard about eating poison ivy, do not believe it. Poison Ivy is not on the nutritious vegetable list and is certainly not to be eaten. Some rumors state that if poison ivy is ingested a permanent cure to the allergic reaction is miraculously assured, but it is not recommended by doctors. NEVER EAT THE EVIL POISON IVY PLANT. There are people that have seriously hurt themselves by eating the plant and end up in the hospital or have died. Ingestion does not make you immune to its allergic reaction. The allergic reaction can actually get worse the more you are exposed and your skin can become more sensitive to it over time.
Learn how to identify poison ivy and remove it from your yard safely.
- Identifying & Eradicating Poison Ivy
Learn how to identify poison ivy and remove it from your yard safely.
Beware of Fields, Trees and Wooded Areas
Since the age of toddling around, my relationship with the three P’s continuously plagued my summer fun. As an outdoors kind of girl, I was always busy running through woods, swinging and climbing trees, fishing, hiking, kick-ball, softball and the all the rest of outdoors things kids like to do during the summer in fields and wooded areas. I was especially susceptible to getting infected when visiting the farm while playing in the cow fields and surrounding woods. My cousins and I would spend all day exploring, climbing the fruit trees and gorging ourselves with pears, cherries, apples and whatever else we could find when we got hungry. We weren't allowed in the garden, though we would sneak an occasional strawberry when my aunt wasn't looking. Those are memories I will always cherish; except of course, for the itchy rash that developed afterwards.
The absolute worse season of poison ivy infection ever
I remember I was age 11. The neighborhood weed cleanup in the area beside my house went well. Huge piles of vegetation remained at the end of the day and instead of letting it naturally compost, someone had the great idea to burn the debris. The winds were blowing a little that day and the smoke carried an oily residue across my yard where we were playing outside that caused an immediate skin reaction. In the weeks following the burning, I continually fought the spread of poison all over my body. What a nightmare. My skin is very sensitive even today and the itching from that allergic reaction of the poisonous oils was just too much to handle. I would scratch myself until bleeding in my sleep. My mother put socks on my hands to help me stop scratching, but it really didn't do much to help with the constant itching. It got so bad I had to go to the doctor. Apparently back in the day, we didn’t have the product Benadryl. Who knew the immediate benefits of Benadryl , the magical antihistamine that would have helped clear up this whole messy problem in much less time without all the itching can made it worse.
Benadryl is great to have on hand for allergic reactions of any kind
Today, this over-the-counter drug is great to have on hand for any allergic reactions. Especially within the first 10 minutes of showing reaction. Years ago the doctor instructed my mother to wash the infected areas with ivory soap to help dry it…. NOT a good solution. This seemed only to make the condition worsen. The areas got larger and it spread as the scabs that now covered my legs and arms opened weepily. I was not a pretty sight and a terrible dilemma that left permanent scarring as a reminder. The poison continued to spread over my body over a period of a couple weeks until I looked like a leper. Daily my mother would cover me with calamine lotion from head to toe as I tried not to scratch. I can still hear her repeatedly saying, “Stop Scratching!!!” As summer was coming to an end, everyone felt sorry for me as I missed most of it. Playing outside only made me itch terribly. So I had to spend the summer of my 11th year sitting in the house peering out the window watching the rest of friends playing our favorite games. Thank God for Benadryl!!!!
Chlorinated Pool healed My Skin in my 11th year
Chlorine Swimming Pool Saved My Summer Fun
My friend's mother invited me to accompany them to the local swimming pool. I was so excited, but my mother was unsure if I'd be allowed to attend since I looked so diseased. When we arrived, the admission clerk took one look at me with scabs all over my face, arms, legs and the look on her face said it all. When explained that I was not the neighborhood leper, but only infected with poison ivy, she was silent. That silent moment of contemplation by the attendant seemed like an eternity. "Yes," she said miraculously. It was such a blessing and very possibly Holy Intervention that I was allowed to enter the swimming pool that day. I remember how fun it was to be outside with my friends at last as we spent the entire day swimming and having fun in the sun. Upon returning home that day, I remember there was no itching sensation. My mother was also surprised to see that the infection appeared to be drying up in many spots. Apparently the high chlorine levels in the pool arrested the infection and started drying out the poison ivy infection at a fast rate. I was so thankful that by the time school began, I was no longer a gruesome sight.
Learn To Identify Poisons
Learn to identify the varieties of poisonous skin irritants and avoid contact.
Toxicodendron radicans: poison ivy has three shiny leaves with pointed tips. It grows on the ground like a shrub and also loves to climb on up trees. In the winter months when foliage is absent, it is easily located as woody vines growing up trees; surely not to be used as ropes. The new foliage appears in spring and turn reddish in the fall.
Toxicodendron quercifolium on east coast – Toxicodendron diversilobum on west coast. Poison sumac: There is not much difference between them in appearance. The stem has compound leaves usually nine in count. There are non-poisonous sumac plants that are popular for the garden and grow wild, it is difficult to tell the difference without close comparison.
Toxicodendron diversilobum - Poison oak has three leaves on stem and also appears to be a small oak sappling in appearance. The leaves will usually be in groupings or like a bush. This also gets reddish in appearance in the fall months.
- Cover skin with clothing when going into the woods and fields. Wash the clothing with hot water upon returning home without getting the clothing in contact with your skin or anything else in your house. Do not sit down on furniture for example with the potentially infected clothing. The oils can last as long as 5 years and continue to infect the skin over and over.
Never burn piles of vegetation that contain poison debris. It can also get into your eyes, lungs, and throat when breathing the oily sooty smoke. I understand from reading medical literature that this can be fatal. Boy Scouts are not allowed to burn this woody vine in camp fires, what does that tell you.
Wash any exposed skin with very hot soapy water to get any poison oils off before they cause an allergic reaction. Only use soaps without oils. Soap with oils will actually spread the poisons oils on your skin causing increased infection as was the case when I was a child.
Take antihistamine as instructed by your doctor when infected and showing signs of allergic reaction, the sooner the better. There are also topical antihistamine products produced by Benadryl and other companies to help with the itching. I find the oral medication more effective, though taking it orally can make you groggy.
Dry, cool compresses can stop the pain and relieve some itching temporarily.
Killing Poison Ivy in Lawn and Garden
The best way to eradicate this plant is the kill it to the root by applying brush killer or Round-up solution by spray for by brush. Spray the foliage or cut the vine and brush the solution on the tip of the vine. This method will have to be done several times to completely kill a large vine to the root. If the plant is among your shrubs, cut it where you can reach and brush the stalk where cut to kill the root. If attempted to pull it up by the roots, some will remain and it will likely return.
Related Hubs of Interest