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Home :: Poison Ivy

Poison Ivy (with Pictures) - Symptoms And Treatment By Home Remedies

Alternative names :: Poison oak and Poison sumac

What is Poison Ivy ?

Poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac are probably the most common allergenic plants in the United States. These plants grow in every state except Alaska and are common along roadsides, in forests and pastures, and along streams-even, in the case of poison ivy, in suburban backyards.

Poison ivy and poison oak are members of the same botanical family. Poison ivy is more prevalent east of the Rocky Mountains; poison oak is more common to the west and southwest. Poison sumac is common in southern swamps and northern wetlands. All three plants produce similar symptoms, and as a result all three are often referred to simply as poison ivy. Poison ivy and Poison oak are 3 leaved plants that cause severe dermatitis in about 2/3 of the people who come into contact with them. The plants take on many different forms. Some leaves are shiny, some are dull colored, some lay flat on the forest floor, some are small shrubs, and some are vines that climb trees. 

It is estimated that 65 percent of Americans are sensitive to these plants, and about 2 million people each year have a reaction from contact with them. Sensitivity to poison ivy is acquired and is at its peak during childhood. Most susceptible are people who are sensitive to sunlight. The irritating substance in poison ivy is urushiol, a substance present in the oily sap in the leaves, flowers, fruit, stem, bark, and roots. Urushiol is one of the most potent toxins on earth; less than 1 ounce would be enough to affect every living person. The blisters, swelling, and itching are caused by an immune system response to this poisonous sap. The plant is poisonous even long after it has dried out, but it is particularly irritating in the spring and early summer, when it is full of sap. Every part of these plants is toxic.

Poison ivy rash symptoms

The first symptom of poison ivy is a burning and itching sensation. This is followed by the development of a red, intensely itchy rash, often accompanied by swelling, oozing, and crusting blisters. A mild case may involve only a few small blisters, while a severe case may cause many large blisters, acute inflammation, fever, and/or inflammation affecting the face or genitals. Symptoms can appear anywhere from a few hours to seven days after contact and tend to be at their worst between the fourth and seventh days. The rash often forms a linear pattern. Exposed parts of the body, such as the hands, arms, and face, are the areas most likely to be affected. Scratching can then spread the inflammation to other parts of the body. Itching, redness, and swelling begin to heal by the second day after the appearance of the rash, and most people are completely healed within seven to fourteen days.

Allergic rection of poison ivy Poison ivy plant
Direct contact with the plant is the most common means of contracting poison ivy, but the poisons can be conveyed to the skin in other ways. Some people have contracted poison ivy by petting an animal that has been in contact with it.
It can also be transmitted by clothing or objects that have come in contact with the plant. People who are highly sensitive to poison ivy can develop a reaction if the plant is burned and they inhale the smoke. Severe cases of mouth poisoning have occurred in children who have eaten the plant's leaves or grayish berries

Home remedies for the poison ivy rash treatment

  • Aloe vera gel helps relieve burning and itching. Apply pure aloe vera gel as directed on the product label or as needed. Helps to cure poison ivy rash.
  • Wash the area immediately with soap and water. Prompt washing can prevent a reaction of poison ivy.
  • A strong tea made of equal parts lime water and white oak bark is very good for poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac. Apply a compress wet with this solution. Replace the compress with a fresh one as often as it becomes dry. Help to get rid of poison ivy.
  • Witch hazel helps stop itching and aids in healing of poison ivy rash.
  • Tea tree oil disinfects and cure poison ivy rash.
  • For relief of itching, apply a paste made from water, cornstarch, baking soda, oatmeal, or Epsom salts. Use 1 teaspoon of water to 3 teaspoons of the dry ingredient. Helps in the removal of poison ivy rash.

Poison Ivy prevention

Prevention is better than treatment when it comes to poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. When spending time outdoors, keep the following in mind:

  • Topical steroids are not helpful for poison ivy and should be avoided.
  • Stay cool. Sweating and heat can make itching worse.
  • Soak the affected skin in cool water with colloidal oat­meal (Aveeno) added, available at most drugstores.
  • Lightweight fabrics do not provide adequate protection against poison ivy or oak, because the sap can easily penetrate them. Wear gloves and heavier clothing if you might be exposed to the plant.
  • Everyone, even children, should learn to recognize, and avoid, these harmful plants. Poison ivy usually grows as a vine, but it can also take the form of a shrub, growing any­where from two to seven feet high. Its leaves always grow in clusters of three, one at the end of the stalk, the other two opposite each other. Poison oak grows as a shrub exclusively, and its leaves are lobed, like oak leaves. Like those of poison ivy, they grow in threes. Poison sumac grows as a shrub or small tree that has multiple leaflets growing on both sides of a stem. The number of leaflets may range from seven to thirteen, but it is always an odd number.
  • Appropriate protective clothing should be worn for activities that take you into forests or through thick under­brush-long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, shoes, socks, and gloves. These items should be washed after they are worn; if they come into contact with poison ivy, they are not safe to wear again until they have been laundered or dry­cleaned.
Is poison ivy rash contagious?

The poison ivy rash is not contagious. Scratching cannot spread it, nor can the fluid from your blisters. You can only spread the rash by touching the oil and then touching other parts of your body.

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