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What You Should Know About Poison Ivy

By Sara Butler

Nothing can take the fun out of summer quite like a bad case of poison ivy. This three-leaved threat is everywhere and difficult to get rid of! It’s like the cockroach of the plant world. Every single state in the United States has some member of the poison ivy family growing in its borders, so it’s difficult to avoid no matter where you are – unless moving to Antarctica is appealing. Here are some tips for helping you to avoid it and what you can do if you get it!

Identify and Avoid

Poison ivy can be identified by the shape of its leaves. Poison ivy has three pointed leaves with a red tint to their edge while poison oak has rounded leaves. Both can be ground cover, vines, or shrubs and can grow in sun or shade.

To avoid these perilous plants, make sure to wear long sleeves and pants when working outside in underbrush. Gloves and even a mask may be needed if you’re trying to remove it from a place on your property. After you’re done, wash all your clothes – even your shoelaces – in hot water with soap and two wash cycles. It’s no joke!

The oil on the plant is what causes a reaction in the skin, so make sure anything you touched after touching poison ivy gets a good cleaning.

If You Get the Rash

The very first thing you should do to any area impacted by poison ivy is to wash it thoroughly. The oil won’t get washed away very effectively by just using water, so make sure you’re using water with rubbing alcohol too. You can use over-the-counter creams to help treat the rash once you’ve washed the area thoroughly. Oral antihistamines can help,  but if you don’t remove the oil, then you risk spreading it to other places on your body!

Get Rid of It

The more you’re exposed to poison ivy, the worse your reaction to it will be. So make sure if you have it growing on your property that you take care of it. Either hire someone to do it for you or do it yourself (fully covered from head to toe) by either pulling it up from the roots or smothering it with thick, black plastic sheeting. Thhe only true way to avoid getting it – not to come into contact with it in the first place!

You can conquer poison ivy! Just make sure to do it right.

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Katy, Tex. 


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