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Newsletter

2Jun. 2014

Correctly identify poison ivy

Now that the weather is steadily agreeable, you may find yourself outside much more than you have been in recent months.  You may even find yourself thinking about taking a hike to get back into a natural state of mind.  Great idea!  Just remember to be aware of your surroundings – especially if those surroundings include poison ivy.

When touched, poison ivy releases oil called urushiol which can be very irritating to the skin.  Even though some people are immune to the affects, most people develop a very itchy rash when the urushiol is absorbed into the skin.  If you are in the vicinity of poison ivy, be sure you take the time to wash yourself thoroughly with cool water.  Do not use hot water as it will not only open your pores to let more oil in, but it can also make your histamines come to the surface and make the itch worse.

To correctly identify the poison ivy plant, look for plants that have clusters of 3 leaflets on each leaf stem.  Depending on the time of year, the leaves can be light green to a deep red color.  They are red when they first start growing in spring, then green in summer, then red again in the fall.  Some species’ two outer leaflets may look like a pair of mittens.  Some leaves may have a longer stem on the middle leaflet.  Poison ivy can grow as either a vine or a bush.  You can recognize a poison ivy vine by its hairy appearance.

If you have concerns or questions about poison ivy, contact your healthcare provider or health insurance carrier.  Both will help with information on how to eradicate poison ivy from your lawn, how to prevent rash, and what to do in case of an emergency allergic reaction.

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