Contributed by: im_yo_pusha
Submitted: June 10, 2003
What about poison ivy exposure?
Many outdoor growers go through the dreadful experience of coming in contact with Poison Ivy. Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) is a common plant that grows throughout much of the US. The toxic chemical produced by the plant is called urushiol. It is produced in resin ducts of the leaves, flowers, fruits, and bark of stems and roots. However, urushiol is not present in the pollen grains. Urushiol is highly stable and can be spread by without direct contact, such as by petting your dog which has came in contact with this plant. It can remain on clothing and still cause a rash a year after exposure. Luckily, the resin can be removed with simple soap and water.
It can appear as a ground cover, a shrub, or as a vine growing up a tree. The leaves are always grouped in threes, is hairy and smooth and are often irregular in shape. The leaves can be slightly lobed, and are a dark waxy green, above, and light, fuzzier beneath.
Poison Ivy is usually not severe but some cases result in a trip to the Emergency Room. Most people who react to poison ivy do so within one to two days. Contact with this plant leads to skin inflammation, or dermatitis. However, some people will react more quickly, which can be a medical emergency, especially if the face and eyes are affected. One can react to poison ivy at any age.
A visit to the doctors is always recommended but if you feel your case is not severe, there are over the counter products that will treat Poison Ivy, Oral antihistamines can help the itching, but the antihistamine lotions wont. Aluminum acetate (Burow's solution) is recommended for topical use to sooth the itching. An Aveeno oatmeal bath is also shown to help stop itching.