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Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac

Discussion in 'Indiana Outdoor News' started by sam, May 30, 2007.

  1. Poison Ivy and other plants that you just don't want to be around: Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, Poison Sumac
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    What is the treatment for poisoning from these plants?
    The best approach to poison ivy dermatitis is prevention. Once it begins, the rash will usually clear on its own by 14-21 days. Treatment is directed at controlling the itching. Oral antihistamines (like Benadryl) may help the itch somewhat, but often do no more than make people drowsy. Cortisone creams, whether over-the-counter or by prescription, are only helpful if applied right away, before blisters appear, or much later, when the blisters have dried up. Compresses with cool water or Burow's solution (available without prescription) can help dry ooze faster.
    When the rash is severe, such as when it affects the face or causes extensive blistering, oral steroids (for example, prednisone) help produce rapid improvement. This course of therapy should be maintained, often in decreasing doses, for 10-14 days or even longer in some cases, to prevent having the rash rebound and become severe again. Patients who are given a six-day pack of cortisone pills often get worse again when they complete it, because the dose was too low and kept up for too short a time.
    Folklore, medical and otherwise, endorses many other agents, from aloe leaves to tea bags to meat tenderizer. These remedies are generally harmless, but are of questionable value.
    How can contact with these plants be prevented?
    Poison ivy and its relatives are often hidden among other vegetation. Even if you know exactly what they look like, it is very hard to avoid coming in contact with them. Although wearing long pants and long sleeves in warm weather may be uncomfortable, it is important to do so when you might be in contact with plants you can't see, whether you are gardening in the backyard or hiking in the woods. So-called "barrier creams" are not very effective.
    When pulling up weeds, those who may be allergic should make sure to tuck sleeves into gloves at all times, since sleeves tend to ride up the forearms and leave wrists and forearms exposed.
    If you think you may have been exposed to poison ivy, wash the skin with cool water as soon as possible. After half an hour, however, this is no longer likely to prevent the reaction. As discussed above, washing pets and clothing may also be of limited help.
    Attempts to desensitize people by giving them poison ivy by mouth or by injection were tried in the past but proved to be ineffective and potentially dangerous.
    Poison Ivy, Oak & Sumac At A Glance
    Most people are susceptible to the rashes of poison ivy, oak and sumac.
    The sap oil, called urushiol, causes the skin rash.
    Poison ivy is not contagious.
    Wash the oily sap from the skin with water and soap immediately.
    Avoiding direct contact with the plants can prevent the rash.
     
  2. I've got an ongoing battle with poison ivy in my fencerow that is going on six years. I've currently got a pretty good handle on it, but it is VERY stubborn stuff. I can now spot that crap from a mile away. I have found that when I am exposed to it and a rash develops, I visit the doctor. One shot in the backside eliminates it twice as fast as any other method.
     

  3. Right on James!!!!!! If you let it go, it only get's worse - in both regards. I always have to get a shot...
     
  4. Last year I transplanted some Scotch Pines out at my buddy's farm. Well then, noone told me that Poison Something grows in the ground as well. The mere thought of any those plants makes me cringe....but yes, a shot is the way to go. And, God forbid if you get it "everywhere".
     
  5. I am one of the lucky few that doesn't get the rash. Never have. Don't bother looking for it, don't bother avoiding it. Pick mushrooms, (when they grow) in a spot that has some poison oak...I just don't get it...

    Lucky me...
     

  6. yeah, Lucky You Tony.....:mad:
     
  7. I am with Mudhole on this one. I can stand in a patch of Ivy and not even break out. The only thing I look out for is Sumac. Nasty stuff there.
     
  8. You can come into contact with the sap, or oils, in any number of ways. I've only had 2 bad cases....and one was from wood smoke off of a campfire.
     
  9. It's the oil from the plants that cause the problem. Oil transferred from the plant to clothing can come into contact with skin later and transfer the poison to you also. More than once I have gotten into it and been sweaty and rubbed my eyes without knowing I had come into contact with it...not a fun thing. Be aware also when answering the call of nature...man which is worse, poison or chiggers??? When my brother gets poison on his arms that won't go away he scratches until it bleeds and then dowses with bleach...kills it pretty quick but stings like you know what. I usually end up getting prednisone from the doctor to clear it up. Be aware tmarsh...I didn't used to have any affects of poison either but something happened and now I get almost every spring.
     
  10. That is a good way to do actually. I forget the numbers, but I want to say it is in the hundreds of people that have severe reactions to breathing smoke from poison oak/sumac/ivy, that result in death.

    The way it was explained to me, it is alot like accidentaly swallowing a bee, and getting stung. Quick swelling closes airways and suffocates the victim. The more allergic you are, the more likely your chances of reaction by breathing also.

    Not a way I would want to go.
     
  11. Yeah, it is said that it is an allergy that can get worse over time, I fully expect for it to kick in eventually. I don't seek it out to roll in don't get me wrong.

    I never used to have spring allergies, either. Now I get those grass headaches. Not as bad as alot of people I know, but it is a chance.
     

  12. Same here...i've fallen face down in a patch of poison ivy and not contracted it. I've seen my old man get it in his nostrils though...just flat out nasty. He gets it every year...

    He normally takes oatmeal baths and just rides it out...i'm not that tough...i gotta believe i'd be getting shots
     
  13. i get poison ivy a few times every year, though not as bad as when i was younger. however i got it earlier this year from my dog. i let him run along a creek and he was in and out of the stuff for an hour and then i loaded him up in the truck. he had the oil from the ivy all over his coat and when i loaded him up and dried him off with a towel later i got the stuff all over my arms and chest(and this was before the ivy sprouted any leaves in early march). It seems like i also get it every winter if i'm ripping the vines off of trees to put my climber up. just touching the leafless vines will do it. so be careful, you can get poison ivy in the winter!
     
  14. I used to be like Terry...I could roll around in the stuff as a kid and never get a rash.

    Then about two years ago, I was cutting up some blow downs, and some poison ivy oil got into some open wounds....it kept popping up for over a month. Now to this day, if I brush up against it, I break out terribly. And like James said...I head right to the doctor for a shot.

    Why couldn't I have obtained some type of super powers....instead of becoming RASH MAN!!!
     
  15. I've been there too, James. I just kept hitting the stuff with Roundup and a couple other weed killers (mixed very strong). I believe I sprayed it at least 3 times a year...this is the first year I haven't seen it try to come back, so maybe there is hope.