"Berries white, run in fright"
"Hairy vine, no friend of mine"
These rhymes remind us of how to spot Poison Ivy and Poison Oak.
A rash forms within 24 to 72 hours of contact, depending on where the plant touched you. It usually peaks within a week, but can last as long as 3 weeks.
At Poison Ivy Immunology | bio.umass.edu they say,
This is a T cell-mediated immune response, also called delayed hypersensitivity, in which the body's immune system recognizes as foreign, and attacks, the complex of urushiol-derivatives with skin proteins. The irony is that urushiol, in the absence of the immune attack, would be harmless. The most common treatment for severe contact dermatitis is with corticosteroids, which diminish the immune attack and resulting inflammation. A recent recommendation for mild cases is to use manganese sulfate solution to reduce the itching. Jewel weed is also recommended."
Every part of a poison ivy plant, from the stem to the vine to the leaves, is poisonous - even after the plant is dead.
Do not burn poison ivy. The smoke can contain some of the oil which can irritate your respiratory system.
You can wash the oil off; According to some sources you need to do it in 10-15 minutes, but I've waited longer and it seemed to work.
Cost-effective post-exposure prevention of poison ivy dermatitis. - PubMed - NCBI.nlm.nih.gov says,
You can also:
If it is bad enough you can get a secondary bacterial infection which requires antibiotics.
Prednisone can be prescribed. Prednisone belongs to a class of drugs known as corticosteroids. It decreases your immune system's response to various diseases to reduce symptoms such as swelling and allergic-type reactions.
If the blisters break and ooze, the fluid does not contain the oil that causes spreading.
Cortaid Poison Ivy Care Treatment Kit ($30) contains a scrub to remove oil and spray to dry out the rash and reduce itching.
Spray or bath with comfrey leaf and plantain leaf tea.
A compress with a washcloth soaked in milk.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Try Palmolive dish soap (the green soap) diluted in hot water. Regular hand soap doesn't work, it often just spreads PI oil around.
How can I clean yard equipment that has come into contact with poison ivy? - Gardening & Landscaping Stack Exchange comments:
- All you'll need is laundry detergent and a cheap scrub-brush you can toss at the end of it and your garden hose, no power wash needed, and wear some disposable dish gloves, too.
Tecnu soap label, says you can use it to wash clothes and tools also.
They say to soak clothes in a bucket with a tecnu mixture for several hours then launder them by themselves.
Do not burn it. There are stories of swollen bronchial tubes requiring hospitalization from breathing the smoke.
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