We love summer! That being said, for many, spending more time outdoors means more chances of acquiring that pesky poison ivy and poison oak. One can easily find themselves with itchy red rashes, swelling and even blistering if they don’t know what to avoid and how.
Poison ivy has hairy vines and a viney growth pattern. It also has smooth or subtly toothed almond shaped leaflets.
Poison oak resembles oak leaves. It is dull green and toothed. It also has hairs on both sides, unlike poison ivy.
The slightest brush against these plants can result in an allergic reaction. Learn how to prevent and avoid poison ivy and poison oak. It’s a valuable lesson that can relieve you and your loved ones of a great deal of pain and discomfort.
Avoid Poison Ivy and Poison Oak
- When gardening or near poison ivy, wear protective clothing: Long sleeves, pants, socks. We know it’s hot, but it will help.
- Avoid the plants: Make sure you can identify what they look like. ( See photo). When hiking, try to stay on cleared pathways and if camping, look for a site away from poison ivy or poison oak.
- Wash your pet’s skin: after possible exposure, wash fur with soap and water to remove resin. This can help reduce the severity of the rash, or even prevent it completely.
- Remove plants…carefully!: herbicides can be sprayed to kill poison ivy or poison oak. An alternative method is to rip it out from the roots while wearing heavy gloves. The gloves should than be thrown away after use. DO NOT try to burn the plants. smoke can still carry the harmful toxin urushiol.
- Wear a barrier cream: over the counter creams are available to act as a barrier between the skin and poison resin.
- Scrub your skin with a Poison Ivy skin cleanser like Tecnu, after possible contamination
If a poison ivy or poison oak rash does appear, be on the lookout for more severe symptoms. These include fevers, swelling and trouble breathing. In this case, medical care will be needed.
For more information feel free to give us a call or stop by our New Britain AFC urgent care center where we have professionals available to treat your poison ivy or poison oak, 7 days a week, no appointment needed. Give us a call at 860-357-6899.