Stay away from the poison ivy plant when you are camping and hiking!
Poison ivy contains urushiol oil, which can cause a very unpleasant reaction in many human beings.
Recognizing poison ivy is not an easy task, because there are so many varieties.
The leaves can be green or red, shiny or dull, smooth-edged or jagged.
The leaves are in groups of three - but so are the leaves of many other plants!
Each leaf of a poison ivy plant is made of three leaflets.
The stalk of the side leaflets are shorter than the stalk of the middle leaflet.
When in doubt, remember the old rhymes:
Avoid any plant with white berries or groups of three leaves, just in case!
If you do have the misfortune to touch poison ivy and contract a rash, here's what you need to know about treating poison ivy.
I hope that you don't ever get a poison ivy rash - but if you do, give this product a try. Many reviewers have found that it relieves the itching and promotes healing.
You'll probably be able to avoid the poison ivy plant at camp - but what if you have it at home in your yard? You'll want to get rid of it - either by killing it with herbicide, or by digging it up.
Poison ivy can be killed by certain chemical weed-killers. Check with your garden center for the most appropriate choice for your area. Be sure to read the label and to follow the manufacturer's directions and safety precautions.
However, there is no product that kills only poison ivy. A herbicide that kills poison ivy may also kill or damage the other plants nearby. If you have poison ivy in your yard or garden, your only alternative may be to physically remove it.
I'm sorry to tell you that removing poison ivy by hand is not an easy task. You will need to dig out every stem and every root.
Getting every piece of underground stem is almost impossible, and chances are high that the plant will regrow.
The toxic oil can be sprayed out from the plants as you cut and pull them.
If you know that you react badly to urushiol, don't attempt this at all.
If you do decide to dig up poison ivy plants, be sure to follow these safety measures.
Disposing of poison ivy plants is another problem.
Some sources recommend burning the plants, but the oil can be dispersed by the smoke, threatening everyone in the area.
Sealing the plants in plastic bags and taking them to the dump is probably the best idea.
Dogs are not affected by poison ivy themselves, but if they get the oil on their fur and you pet them, you might get the rash.
No. If your friend has a poison ivy rash and you touch it, you will not contract a rash yourself.
Even if you touch the fluid that comes out of a burst poison ivy blister, you won't get a rash. Poison ivy blisters contain fluid, but the fluid does not contain urushiol.
However, if your friend still has urushiol oil on herself and you touch that, you can get a rash.
If you have had a reaction to poison ivy in the past, you might now react to plants that are related to poison ivy - or to products made from those plants. Here's a partial list:
For example, a drop of urushiol the size of the head of a pin would be enough to cause itching in 500 people!
I read that centuries-old urushiol can cause itching in people with sensitive skin!
Know that you know how and why to avoid the poison ivy plant, give some thought to other camping safety guidelines.
There's a lot to think about when you plan a camping trip! The Camping Family home page is a good place to start.