Poison Ivy, Oak & Sumac on Its Own Does Not Hurt You
It is our body’s own reaction to the Urushiol oil found in the plant that causes the aggravating itch and painful blisters.
Urushiol (ooh-roo-she-all) oil is found in the stem, roots, and leaves of Poison Ivy, oak and sumac plants. When you come into contact with this oil, it easily penetrates into your skin causing an allergic reaction to occur. The stronger your immune system is, the worse this reaction will be, often poison ivy treatment is needed.
Poison Ivy rashes often include:
About Poison Ivy
Poison Ivy grows throughout much of North America, but rarely grows at altitudes above 5,000 feet. It can grow as a shrub up to 4 feet tall, as groundcover or as a climbing vine. The leaves are a compound of 3 smooth almond-shaped leaflets. The color of the leaves range from light green to dark green, turning red in the fall. The berries are a grayish white color and are a favorite food of many birds.
About Poison Oak
There are two main types of Poison Oak – Western(Pacific) & Atlantic.
Western Poison Oak is only found on the Pacific Coast of the US and Canada. It can grow as a dense shrub or a climbing vine. Like Poison Ivy, leaves are a compound of three leaflets; however, the leaflets tend to have scalloped edges and often resemble the leaves of an oak tree. The color of the leaves range from light green to yellow-green to bright red, depending on the seasons. White flowers will also form in the spring and turn into white or tan berries as they develop. It is common that in the winter, Poison Oak plants will loose their leaves and only berries will remain. It is important to understand that even without the leaves, the Urushiol oil is present.
Atlantic Poison Oak is found growing in forests, thickets and dry,sandy fields, usually throughout the Southeastern United States westward to Texas and Oklahoma. It can grow as an erect shrub up to 3 foot tall. The leaves are also a compound of three leaflets, which are usually hairy and often resemble white oak leaves. The color of the leaves range from green to yellow or orange in the fall. The berries are usually yellowish or greenish.
About Poison Sumac
Poison Sumac grows exclusively in very wet or flooded soiled, usually in swamps or bogs in the easter US and Canada. Poison Sumac is a woody shrub that grows about 4 feet tall. Unlike Poison Ivy & Poison Oak, the leaves are not a compound of three leaflets. Each branch may contain 7 – 13 leaflets. The steams from which the leaflets grow are always red and the berries are white or gray.
Advice Doctors Forget to Tell You!
In it’s pure form, the amount of Urushiol Oil you could fit on the head of a pin could make 500 people very miserable.
Because urushiol is an oil, and not a water based fluid, it does not evaporate; therefore it can linger for at least a year. It will cover what ever it comes in contact with such as clothing, tools, and even pet hair. Because it is an oil, urushiol vaporizes when it is burned. The vapor is then carried in the smoke and covers everything it comes in contact with; which means it can continue to contaminate for a year or longer! Urushiol is present on the leaves, stems, and roots of the plant, and is still active even on dead plants that have dried up.
People often are contaminated or re-contaminated from boots, gloves or coats that have been hanging in closets. It’s important to understand that everything should be washed & cleaned before stored. Strong antimicrobial products are used to denature the toxins and cut through the urushiol oil. There are antimicrobials that offer a solution to relieve the itch from your skin, and remove the toxin oil from your clothes and other articles including your environment.
Poison Ivy Symptoms
Severe itching is the first symptom of poisoning you will experience. Later, you will experience red inflammation and blistering of the skin. In severe cases, oozing sores develop and sometimes turn into clusters of tiny pimples, the pimples eventually merge and turn into blisters. The fluid in the blisters turns yellow, dries up, and becomes crusty. The rash spreads by the poisonous sap (urushiol), not as the result of contamination from sores. The blood vessels develop gaps that leak fluid through the skin, causing blisters and oozing. Cooling the skin with cold compresses has often proven to help the symptoms and using antimicrobial products to neutralize the toxins so you itch less and also prevent secondary infection. The cycle can last as short as five days and in severe cases as long as five to six weeks.
Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac can cause:
- Intense Itching
- Burning sensations
- Blisters accompanied by possible oozing and weeping
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TIPS AND PREVENTION
- As soon as you suspect that you are exposed to the urushiol oil, wash thoroughly with lots of water and a strong antimicrobial soap. (Do not use hot water as this will open the pores and allow the urushiol oil to penetrate deeper) Water alone will also work, but not quite as well. Don’t use a washcloth, since this tends to spread the oil to other patches of skin. Likewise, a shower is much preferable to a bath.
- It’s very important the oil is removed as quickly as possible, you may prevent, or at least minimize, the rash. The oil remains on the skin until it is rubbed or washed off. It can cause a new reaction wherever it touches.
- Anything that a person has touched between his exposure and a thorough shower should be washed in hot antimicrobial soap and water, hosed down, or soaked in water.
- Once the oil has been removed, the rash from poison oak or Poison Ivy is not contagious. The oozing blisters are not contagious, although they look like they should be.
- As long as the oil is no longer present, scratching does not make the rash spread. Scratching can cause secondary infections and also increases the intense itching. Antimicrobial products prevent the secondary infections and relieves the itch immediately.
- Coat your skin with an antimicrobial gel before an outing where you are concerned about coming into contact with these plants.
- The last tip for prevention — don’t forget to hose down the dog! It is very possible for you to contract Poison Ivy by coming into contact with urushiol oil on your pet’s skin or fur.
The Poisonous Plant’s Purpose
Poison Ivy, oak and sumac all serve a useful purpose; however not to people! Although most people will put them on the same list of outdoor annoyances as mosquitoes and flies, Poison Ivy, oak and sumac are important to the eco-systems they are present in. The tangles they form serve as shelter, and most animals are not effected by the irritants found in urushiol oil. The small berries found on the ivies feed a number of birds and small animals.
It’s important to identify where the poisonous oils are on your body within a few hours of the incident because the urushiol oil chemically bonds with the proteins in your skin about 30 minutes after contact. 85% of the population is effected by contact with urushiol, although immunity to urushiol today does not assure immunity tomorrow, and vice versa. Rash symptoms can appear within a few hours but can take two to five days to appear.
If you come in contact with Poison Ivy, Poison Oak or Poison Sumac, or an animal, or tools, gear, or clothing exposed to any of these, you should wash off with water (not hot) and a strong antimicrobial product as soon as possible. If you can get washed up in the first six hours, before the first symptoms appear, you have a good chance of avoiding an outbreak, and an even better chance of minimizing the effects if you do have one.
Once it bonds to cell membranes, urushiol is virtually impossible to wash off and if attached to cell membranes, it becomes a “warning flag“. This attracts patrolling T-cells and initiates a full-blown immune response. Poison oak can even spread through the air from the pollen.
Washing in water (not hot) and a strong antimicrobial soap within the first 24 hours of exposure, and not scratching can help reduce the length and severity of a reaction. There are many high quality poison ivy creams available to make recovery faster.
Only the urushiol oil spreads the rash. Break the blisters that formed over the infected area. The fluid inside is not contagious and will not spread the Poison Ivy. You should try to let the infected area breath, if you do wrap it, keep the dressing as clean as possible, weeping blisters are a hot bed for infection. Antimicrobial soaps and gels will avoid any secondary infections in addition to giving immediate itch relief.
No one is born with sensitivity to Poison Ivy, but if exposed enough most people become sensitized at some time and remain allergic. There’s no way to desensitize people allergic to Rhus plants. The weird thing is that dogs and other animals are not affected by Poison Ivy. People can even get the rash by petting a dog that’s been exposed.
Poison Ivy, Poison Oak and Poison Sumac rashes are self-limited; sooner or later they clear up without treatment. You have the option of letting nature take its course, but severe rashes need poison ivy treatment to ease the itch and secondary infections. The rash is worse the very first time you get it and it lasts longer than a repeat attack, often 3 or 4 weeks. New lesions that appear a few days after the primary lesions represent less sensitive areas or areas where less antigen was deposited.
Poison Ivy and poison oak rashes are caused by an allergy to the resin of these plants, called Rhus plants. You don’t have to come in direct contact with the leaves, roots, or branches of Rhus plants to get the rash.
Like other allergies, Rhus allergy is acquired; you’re not born with it. While some lucky people never become allergic to Rhus plants, most persons become sensitized at some time and remain allergic. Unfortunately, there’s no way to desensitize persons allergic to Rhus plants. These types of Allergies are forms of allergic contact dermatitis.
Poison Ivy, poison oak and poison sumac are the most common plants that cause a skin rash. A sap that comes from these plants causes the rash. The name of this sap, urushiol, causes an allergic reaction. It is not really a poison. Not everyone reacts to urushiol. If you are allergic to it, though, you can get a skin rash when you:
- Touch Poison Ivy, poison oak or poison sumac.
- Touch clothing or shoes that have the sap on them.
- Touch pets that have the sap on them.
- Come in contact with the smoke of these burning plants.
About the Poison Ivy/Oak/Sumac Plant
The compound leaves of Poison Ivy consist of three pointed leaflets; the middle leaflet has a much longer stalk than the two side ones. The leaflet edges can be smooth or toothed but are rarely lobed. The leaves vary greatly in size, from 8 to 55 mm (0.31″ to 2.16″) in length. They are reddish when they emerge in the spring, turn green during the summer, and become various shades of yellow, orange or red in the autumn. Small greenish flowers grow in bunches attached to the main stem close to where each leaf joins it. Later in the season, clusters of poisonous, berrylike drupes form. They are whitish, with a waxy look. It is worth familiarizing yourself thoroughly with the appearance of this plant before you take a hike.
Poison Oak & Poison Ivy are the biggest plant pest that you are likely to encounter. They grow just about everywhere and are always plentiful in the summer. In fact, even 100 year old leaves have been known to cause irritation.
Under the right conditions, Poison Ivy will explode into a true shrub – usually on top of an old stump or a post, or on you if you stand still long enough. You can almost count on Poison Ivy growing at the edge of every field within it’s range. You will most always find it at the edge of every road, and the edge of every forest. In the open field, the grass usually wins over time, and in the deep woods the ivy probably can’t get enough light. When Poison Ivy grows near the ocean it tends to have curly, waxy looking leaves.
Know what these plants look like and avoid them:
Poison Ivy and Poison Oak both have three leaflets per stem. You may have heard this saying, “Leaflets three, let them be.”
Poison sumac. Poison sumac has a row of six to ten leaflets. One leaflet is at the end of the stem. The others are in two rows opposite to each other.
If you know you have come in contact with one of the plants, do the things below within 6 hours. You may prevent an allergic reaction if you do.
- Remove all clothes and shoes that have touched the plant.
- Wash your skin with soap and water.
- Apply rubbing alcohol with cotton balls to the parts of the skin that are affected.
Clearing the Poisonous Plants
Poison Ivy, oak and sumac are most dangerous in the spring and summer, when there is plenty of sap, the urushiol content is high, and the plants are easily bruised. However, the danger doesn’t disappear over the winter. Dried up or dormant plants can still cause reactions. Beware of using twigs of the plant for firewood or the vines for Christmas wreaths. Remember, urushiol remains active for several years after the plant dies.
If Poison Ivy invades your yard, the last thing you should do is to burn the plants or try to remove them yourself. The two herbicides most commonly used for Poison Ivy is Roundup and Ortho Poison Ivy Killer. Spraying Roundup (active ingredient glyphosate) on the foliage of young plants will battle the Poison Ivy; however you must understand that it will kill any other plant that it may be wrapped around.
If you don’t want to use chemicals, removing it with your hands would be your only other option. You must get every bit of the plant–leaves, vines, and roots–or it will sprout again.
We recommend wearing plastic gloves over cotton gloves when pulling the plants. Plastic alone isn’t enough because the plastic rips, and cotton alone won’t work because after a while the urushiol will soak through.
Google Health – Poison Ivy
MayoClinic – Poison Ivy
Wiki About Poison Ivy
CDC-Toxic Poison Ivy
Cure for Poison Ivy
Poison Ivy Spray
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Get Rid of Poison Ivy
DermaTechRx Poison Ivy Eguide
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Poison Ivy Facts
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All Stop Poison Ivy Health
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About Poison Ivy All Stop
Immediate Poison Ivy, Oak & Sumac Itch Relief,
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Poison Ivy Treatment Regimen
- If you have watery blisters from the Poison Ivy, Oak or Sumac you will need to break the blisters and soak up the drainage with a paper towel or piece of gauze. Be careful not to pull the skin off the blister. This will allow All Stop™ Healing Gel to penetrate faster and your results will be more effective. The fluid in the blisters is NOT CONTAGIOUS. Apply All Stop™ Healing Gel over the popped blisters and red, itchy areas 2 to 3 times per day, making sure to gently rub All Stop™ Healing Gel until there is no residue left over.
- Use a Shea Butter Soap to cleanse the skin of Urushiol Oil daily.
*Urushiol oil is found in the stem, roots, and leaves of Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac plants. When you come into contact with this oil, it easily penetrates into your skin causing an allergic reaction to occur.
* The stronger a person’s normal immune system is, the more likely they are to break out in large water blisters when exposed to Poison Ivy, Oak, or Sumac. This is a natural defense mechanism of your body. These blisters must be broken so that the Healing Gel can get through to the dermal skin layers and counter the Urushiol oil reaction. If you have had a severe outbreak or have had your outbreak for an extended period of time, you may need to apply the product 4-5 times a day for the first 2 days for relief.
* Make sure that any garden equipment, hunting equipment or clothing that was also in contact with the Poison Ivy, Oak, or Sumac is properly cleaned and disinfected with a Disinfectant Spray because the Urushiol oil from the plant (even if dead) can remain active and infective on objects for up to 5 years.
*If you do not experience major results within 4 to 5 days, contact one of our Customer Service Representatives in order to customize a regimen especially for you. These products work very well, and they will work quickly for you!