Learn how to protect yourself when hiking in the woods so that you do not accidentally come into contact with poison ivy. If you do encounter it, however, acting quickly and cleaning each of the items that have touched the plant can lessen the chance that you will encounter a severe allergic reaction.
Learn How To Identify The Plant
Poison ivy grows throughout the United States. On the east coast it tends to grow on a vine and on the west coast it resembles a bush. Both types of plants have leaves that grow in groups of three. The leaves have a shiny, red appearance and can have a pointed, serrated, or rounded edge. Small flowers grow next to the leaves on poison ivy in the spring. They are a yellowish color. After the flowers mature, white and grey berries form on each plant.
Urushiol is an oily allergen that is found on all parts of the plant. Because some other plants can look similar to poison ivy, it is a good idea to stay away from any plant that has leaves that are growing in groups of three.
Counteract An Allergic Reaction If Contact Is Made
Cover all exposed areas of your skin before walking through the woods or in any other areas that contain a lot of foliage. If, however, you do accidentally come into contact with a plant that resembles poison ivy, rinsing off your skin quickly can reduce the chance of an allergic reaction occurring. Run cold water over the area that touched the plant to remove any urushiol that may be on your skin. Put on gloves before removing your clothing and wash it immediately. If any other items came into contact with the plant, wipe them off with soapy water.
Treat A Rash From Poison Ivy
If you break out into a rash, apply topical cream and calamine lotion to the affected areas to reduce swelling and to relieve itching. Try not to scratch your skin because this can cause some of the blisters to break open and put you at risk of getting a skin infection. Take hot showers a couple times each day. Within a few days, your symptoms will lessen and your skin will show signs of healing. If you ever encounter a severe rash, seeking medical attention is a good idea.
Being aware of poison ivy and the proper steps to take to keep yourself protected will minimize the risk of you coming into contact with it. If you are concerned about an allergic reaction you are experiencing, contact a specialist like Oak Brook Allergists for more information.Share
1 May 2015
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