We all love those warm days when we can get outside, get the yard looking good and enjoy the fresh air. However, be on the lookout for Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, and Poison Sumac. Those pretty shiny leaves can leave you feeling quite uncomfortable.
If you do find that you have run into a Poison Ivy patch, it is best to wash immediately with warm, soapy water. Also, the tools that you had been using should be washed off with a bleach/water mixture. (The oils can stay on the tools and you can get it on you the next time you pick up the tools.) All the clothes that come in contact with the plant oil should be washed as well. Also, be wary of walking your dog in the woods. They can brush up against a plant, get the Poison Ivy oil on them….then you pat them…..and then you get it.
You cannot catch or spread the rash once it is on you. It is spread directly by the oil from the plant It is spread when you touch the oil and then touch another part of your body and “move the oil around”. Once the oil itself is washed off you cannot get it.
If you are unlucky enough to have an outbreak there are a few ways to keep yourself a little more comfortable. You can use cool compresses, leave the rash open to the air, use Calamine lotion (avoid most other lotions and ointments), or try an oral antihistamine. If the rash gets really bad and/or you get a fever, you should consult a doctor.
When the leaves are out, this is what they each look like. Keep in mind that you can get Poison Ivy when the plant is dormant; when there are no leaves on it. Of course, this makes it quite hard to identify.
Get out enjoy the sunshine, and look out for the shiny leaves!!