Poison Ivy

by Justin on June 23, 2007

I have had some bad cases of Poison Ivy before and believe me I still to this day do not even remember where I first got my few bad cases of them. You just cant pay enough attention in your activities to monitor whether or not there is poison ivy in the area or not. Another problem is trying to find out if it was poison ivy at all. There are variants and similar plants that can give you the same varying symptoms, but maybe just maybe I can help.

As far as determining what you have from just your symptoms your out of luck, different people will react or not react (lucky you) to it in different ways so that is out of the picture. Itching blisters, swelling and severe redness and puss all go along with the 3 main plants that can give you this extreme itching problem.

Poison Ivy has “3” leaves and is usually a deeper green than the surrounding vegetation but vary in color by season and are usually have a glossy look. It is easiest to find them by looking at the compound leaf, which are the “3” pointed leaflets with the middle leaf usually being longer than the other two.

The thing that makes this plant “poison” is the oil that it contains getting into contact with your skin from the plant being disturbed or bruised in a way for the oil to come out, this also applies to poison oak and poison sumac, the other two itch plants.

Poison Oak is more of a woodland plant than ivy and is a low growing shrub with the same 3 leaf cluster except that they are less pointed and the branched contain more leaves.

Poison Sumac is a larger plant usually 3-4 feet in height although upwards of 20ft in whole is not uncommon, and has woody branches contain 7 – 13 alternating glossy pointed leaves with each branch ending with a long leaf near the end.

All of these plants contain the Oil “Urushiol” which causes the itch and blistering that nearly 90% of us are allergic to. Watch out though many of these plants tend to grow in unorganized and unruly ways other than in just bushes or clumps, poison ivy love to hang out as vines on trees and as well as running along the ground. Be careful in areas such as overgrown fences, and on the edges of thickets and tree lines, one of these plants’ favorite growing spots.

By Jesse G. Roland

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