Poison Ivy: Nature's Nasty Revenge

Identifying and Treating Poison Ivy

Credit: USDA-NRCS Plants Database
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As anyone knows who has learned the old saying “Leaves of three, let it be” the hard way, poison ivy has a nasty habit of rewarding those who touch it with two or three weeks of blistering misery.

Identification

  • Poison Ivy's "leaves of three" are glossy-green, but are tinged with pink in the spring, and take on a brilliant orange in the autumn.
  • It has small, pearl-colored berries. These are a favorite treat of many birds, which spread poison ivy seeds around the countryside.

The Poison

The poison is an oily resin called urushiol that occupies every part of the plant, including the roots.

  • The leaves, especially young ones, contain the most toxin.
  • The oil can remain on tool handles and clothing for as long as a year. Dogs and cats can carry its potency on their fur. This is why you can come down with a rash without having seen poison ivy in months.

Fortunately, the oils don’t always go to work immediately, especially on dirty or work-hardened hands. If you come in contact with poison ivy, wash up at once and launder your clothes using old yellow laundry soap or boraxo to cut the oil. (Soaps made with fat are ineffective.)

Remedies

If you become affected, there is no shortage of remedies, but many of them are useless and some can even make matters worse.

  • Mild cases can be helped by calamine lotion, over-the-counter cortisone creams, and saltwater soaks, but severe cases require prescription cortisone.
  • A barrier cream, IvyBlock, containing quaternium-18 bentonite, which bonds with the urushiol, promises to be effective 68%of the time, if applied before any contact with poison ivy.
  • Eradicating poison ivy is probably the best way to remain itch-free. The plants can be destroyed by covering them with black plastic or spraying them with appropriate herbicides. But beware—even dead plants are infectious.

Perhaps someday, plant scientists will develop a non-poisonous variety. Rumor has it that they have already crossed poison ivy with four-leaf clovers, hoping to get a rash of good luck.

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Comments

I was in the scouts we used

By Doug614

I was in the scouts we used to take plain simple Deodorant "right guard " spray on the busters and it help'dry up very quickly

Yikes! Speaking of home

By derrick615

Yikes!

Speaking of home remedies, I knew someone who swore by an iron brush and bleach. Thankfully, I never tried it.

When ever I get poison ivy, I used this stuff called Itch Juice (www.mypoisonivytreatment.com). It's pretty good. The rash doesn't go away for a day or so, but because I am a landscaper I order get poison oak and this is the best stuff I've found so far.

I have poisin ivy right now.

By thebleachguy on September 5

I have poisin ivy right now. I just put bleach on it. Goes away every time. Dab some bleach on it. Works every time.

Heat it with a blow dryer as

By Brad ulery

Heat it with a blow dryer as long as you can stand it. It feels great and gives you about ten hours of relief. I do it his with bug bites as well.

It won't make the rash

By Derrick Adams

It won't make the rash resolve any faster, but Sasquatch Itch Cream or even Tiger Balm (the old fashioned stuff) will give you about 10-12 hours of itch relief. Both act as counter-irritants and confuse the nerves that carry itch signals to your brain. I've spent many days on the river fly fishing and scratching my hide off before I discovered this.

A poison ivy remedy that

By ashishsultania2k7

A poison ivy remedy that really works!

POISON IVY KILLER 3 cups

By hummeerluv

POISON IVY KILLER
3 cups vinagar 1/2 cup of salt 1 Tbls Dawn dish liquid heat till salt disolved spray poison ivy every 3 to 4 days till all is gone. Also great to use on skin that has been exposed to poison plants. This is the best and safest weed killer I have ever found!!

I have aleays had great

By jayshnwa

I have aleays had great relief by using Fels-naptha soap. If I have been out where I might have been exposed I wash with it. If I have broken out I wash the affected area and then I lather that area and let it dry on. Works great!

Liquid dish washing soap is

By 1ngvic

Liquid dish washing soap is very good at cutting oil and should work on the oily resin of poison ivy.

You must be kidding.

By SadieK

You must be kidding.

I kid u not - Dawn (the blue

By Anonymoustas

I kid u not - Dawn (the blue stuff) is the best - take a shower with it if you think you came in contact with poison ivy. No more rash and way cheaper than Technu.

Try a mixture of Bleach and

By Robert Lang

Try a mixture of Bleach and water. it must a 60%-40% or 50%-50% mixture. The water activates the bleach. Straight Bleach DOES NOT WORK!!!! It needs the water.
Let me know of your success'
RCLang@Gmail.Com
Rob

I could remember a bleach

By Doug614

I could remember a bleach called white Monday and we would use it for different helmets it was not like Clorox bleach and mix it half-and-half it was good home abrasions poison ivy poison oak and sumac one must remember whatever you touch the affected area it spreads when you scratch It , it is like a chemical biological warfare this solution being pushed out by your body is toxic when you break the blisters the water is the poison so wherever you scratch and you Scratch some where else you spread the Toxic oil, The bleach helps dry it up

A poison ivy remedy that

By Amanda Bauknight

A poison ivy remedy that really works! Look for a weed which grows along roadside ditches whose juice acts as a treatment for poison ivy rash, relieving that awful itch. The weed is called, "jewelweed" (sometimes misspelled as "jewel weed"), or "touch-me-not" ). Its taxonomy, Impatiens capensis, classifies it as a wild version of the colorful impatiens plants sold so widely for shady annual beds, and if you cannot locate jewelweed, you can try using the juice from impatiens stems. You can purchase extracts online, or you can collect the jewelweed, split the stems and rub the juice on the affected area. Relief is prompt and lasting!

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