Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Poison Ivy is Bad News
This isn't an attractive picture of me by any means. In fact, I look down right ugly. You're probably thinking that my face looks like a sunburn gone bad, but it's actually poison ivy. This past Saturday, the weather was beautiful, and I decided it was time for the first lawn cutting of the season.
While I was mowing, my neighbor to the south of us was burning off grass and weeds in between their rows of trees and thus gave me poison ivy. I caught it by the poison ivy being airborne. In my younger days, I was immune to this stuff. I picked it with my hands and laughed at my family who couldn't do the same. Now, it has come back to haunt me. I can catch it just by looking at the stuff (not really, but it sure seems like it). I've been to the doctor and received wonderful shots that help tremendously with the itching and burning that I am experiencing. Today, it is starting to dry up and I refused to go to work because I look so hideous...and I am not being vain. Today, my face looks like I have a million little zits on it. Ugh!!!!
So here are a few little facts I want to share with you about poison ivy:
What is poison ivy? Poison ivy a type of perennial weed that causes humans a lot of grief, but doesn't seem to affect livestock or pets. It can grow as a ground cover, as a bush or vine.
What does poison ivy look like? It has three distinct leaves to it, thus the saying "leaves of three, let it be."
What is poisonous about it? Poison ivy secretes an oil that when humans come into contact with it, it causes itching and a rash.
What are the ways that in which I can get poison ivy? Poison ivy is sneaky. You can get it by touching the leaves, petting a pet that has the oil on their fur or through the air by someone burning it.
What should I do if I come in contact with poison ivy? The first thing to do is go and wash the area that you came into contact with using soap and water. Take a shower if you need to, but first put all the clothing that you may have come into contact with the poison ivy in the washer. Wash yourself thoroughly with soap and water. Wash all clothing as well. The oil can remain on the clothing and you can contract it again if you come back into contact with it.
Poison ivy will usually generate a rash and severe itching within 24-72 hours of contact. Depending on the severity, you may need to seek medical treatment. Since I caught my current case of poison ivy through the air, I also have it in my mouth and have blisters in my mouth as well. That is one of the reasons I needed to receive a shot for it.
Drugstores offer over-the-counter medications like Benadryl to relieve the itching so you can sleep and anti-itch ointments to apply topically.
The best way not to get poison ivy, is to know what it is, looks like and to AVOID it at all costs.
For more information on Poison Ivy check out Purdue's publication on it.