Year after year, thousands of people are affected by poison ivy. Unless there is a way to completely eradicate this plant from the planet, people would still be affected in the years to come. The best way to prevent an individual from experiencing the painful and itchy effects of poison ivy is to stay away from the plant.
How does one identify a poison ivy even if he or she has not encountered it yet? The following characteristics should be noted:
- Trailing or climbing vine or shrub
- A cluster of 3 leaves
- Each cluster has its own stalk that connects to the main vine
- The middle stem of the cluster is much longer than the 2 side stems
- Alternate leaf arrangement
- No thorns
- Hairy vine with a raggy appearance
When seeing a plant that matches these characteristics, stay away from it. Although there are other plant species that have similar appearance to poison ivy, it is best not to test if the plant is poison ivy or not. Also, any part of the plant can cause the allergic reaction so never try to touch it.
Poison Ivy Diet
Although there is really no diet that a person can take so that he or she can avoid getting an allergic reaction from poison ivy, there are certain foods that one can eat to speed up its treatment.
- So if the patient is suffering from a poison ivy rash, there are certain foods that he or she can eat which will help in its speedy treatment. There are even herbal medicines that one can add to this diet, which could provide immediate relief to the itching.
- If the individual will take vitamin C with bioflavonoids daily, infection from the rash could be prevented. The rapid spread of the rash could also be alleviated and the inflammation healed quickly which means quick relief.
- Food rich in calcium and beta-carotene can also speed up the healing process of the rash and the blisters. Because these could also give the immune system a boost, these could even result in lessening the extent of the allergic reaction.
- Zinc can also be incorporated in the daily diet for the repair of the skin tissues that have been damaged during the allergic attack. This way, the patient will still have healthy-looking skin after getting poison ivy.
Poison Ivy Natural Cure
There are a number of home remedies that you can apply on the rashes caused by exposure to poison ivy. Coupled with topical medication, you are sure to experience relief with these remedies.
- Using cotton balls soaked in alcohol to dab on the affected skin areas.
- Washing the skin that has been exposed right after contact with soap and lots of water. This should be done within 5 to 10 minutes after contact, if possible.
- Soaking in a tepid bath mixed with colloidal oatmeal. This should be done two to six times every day.
- Doing your best to resist scratching on the rashes because it could cause infection.
- Using 1 percent colloidal or cortisone creams or calamine lotion for mild itching so the affected area will be soothed.
- For treating poison ivy, apply a paste made from water and baking soda on the affected areas, especially if the rash is blistering.
- Applying an ice cube to the affected skin for about a minute or a compress using cold milk for 5 to 10 minutes. This is also meant to soothe the rash.
- Cleaning the areas exposed to the poison ivy properly.
- Applying aloe vera juice on the rash, which could provide immediate relief because of its cooling effect.
- Rubbing the rash with the inner side of a banana peel.
How to Prevent Poison Ivy?
- The best thing that you can do is to recognize the plants that contain allergens like poison ivy so you can stay away from them.
- Make sure that you have an effective lotion always at hand that is against such allergic reactions as skin inflammations. You should apply this lotion 15 minutes before you head off to the woods.
- It is best to wear clothes that cover your legs and your arms if you will go to places where poison ivy and other rash-causing plants could be found. Gloves would also be quite beneficial as a protective covering.
- If you suspect your pets of having been exposed to poison ivy, then you should give them a thorough washing. This is because the resin from poison could stay on these pets’ fur.
- You can also prevent yourself from contracting poison ivy caused by flu by getting a flu vaccination.
Poison ivy is one of the most common poisonous plants abundant in North America and some Canadian provinces. This can cause severe allergic reactions when the patient comes in contact with any part of the plant – the leaves, bark, twigs, branches, vine, and even the hair-like growth around the vines.
Luckily, not all people are readily susceptible to ill effects from poison, with about 15 to 30% of the population naturally resistant to the poison. Still, it is not a good idea to check if the individual is allergic or not by touching any part of the plant. Always be cautious.
Poison Ivy Disease Symptoms
Looking out for the signs of poison ivy could help in being able to apply treatment at the soonest possible time. So after the patient has been exposed to the plant, the signs to watch out for include the following:
- A red, itchy and bumpy rash at the site that has been exposed to the plant. This will be followed later on by tiny blisters.
- A swelling of the skin that is confined to a particular area.
- Effects that range from mild and short-lived redness to more severe blisters and swelling. The rash oftentimes contains linear streaks of small blisters that are itchy. The area covered by the rash could either cover a small or large part of the body. It is very rare that these rashes would appear on palms of your hands or the soles of your feet. They are usually patches of skin that are itchy and red. Later on, tiny blisters filled with clear fluid will form and will break open.
- Severe reactions usually develop into fluid-filled areas of the skin that are not only swollen but are also very painful. The flaking, itching, and temporary thickening of the skin with the rash may continue on for days or weeks.
What can Cause Poison Ivy?
- The roots, stem, and leaves of the plant poison ivy produces a resin known as urushiol. An oil that is slightly yellow in color, this resin is very toxic that just a slight exposure to it could already trigger an allergic reaction.
- Doctors call this inflammatory reaction as contact dermatitis. This is just an inflammation of the skin that is caused by the exposure to a foreign substance. There are two ways for this inflammation to occur and these are through an allergic reaction or irritation.
- In cases of allergic reaction caused by poison ivy, even the repeated contact with the plant may not result in getting a rash at the very onset. Usually the process may take to as much as ten days because of body’s registering the new sensitivity.
- However, if a person has already been sensitized to poison ivy and is allergic to its resin, then the next time he is exposes, rash and itching would commence within 4 to 24 hours.
- Scratching the poison ivy rash will not really spread the toxin from the resin to other body parts. However, this could spread the rash. Because poison ivy is usually limited to a particular body area, scratching it could cause an infection and lengthen the discomfort.