Essential Poison Ivy Facts
5 Facts About Poison Ivy You Will Be Glad You Know
By: Chavvah Laudon
I wanted the house. It was simple and small, but the location was perfect. It needed a lot of work, but I was game. The most obvious need outside was an overgrown bed right in front of the house, in full view of the road.
We tore into the house almost as soon as I had possession. The first thing my brother-in-law did was tackle that eyesore of landscaping in the front of the house. He sawed through thick trunks of bushes and loaded branches, leaves, and weeds into the truck. Later I tackled the finer points of the bed myself.
Aside from the thick weeds and bush stumps, long root tubers ran through the bed. Down on my hands and knees, I dug, yanked, and pulled them out. Roots, branches, stems, and leaves were thrown into the trash, and I stood satisfied the results of my hard work. But the real pain had not yet started.
A couple days later my ankles and wrists started to itch. Puzzled, I scratched and hoped it would pass.
It did not.
Before I knew what was going on, small blisters were breaking out. They seeped, itched, and scabbed. The liquid from the burst blisters would run down my legs. It was nasty.
Somewhere in this miserable procession, I figured out I had poison ivy. Poison ivy!
The reason I was so surprised was because I had never had poison ivy before. My brother and I grew up romping in the woods and playing in the weeds. There is no way I had escaped encountering poison ivy before this! But this was the first time I reacted.
Thankfully, my blisters started to heal. I was almost well when I noticed red spots on new places on my body—like up my arm and legs. The red spots soon turned to blisters, and before I knew it, they too were oozing. I was miserable, and the cycle was not stopping!
I finally posted my plight on FaceBook (where else do you get desperate support for misery?!). Sympathetic friends and family from all over helped me learn a lot about poison ivy that summer. Hopefully, this list of things I learned will help you avoid or limit your misery!
- Poison ivy is a vine with clusters of three jagged leaves. It can creep along the ground or climb plants including trees and bushes. It can change colors with the seasons. It can grow in the shade of the woods or the sunshine of a cornfield. Do not trust any of the parts of this plant! Even the roots contain the oil that creates the rash!
- You can suddenly become allergic to poison ivy even if you were not allergic before. Supposedly, you do not react to poison ivy on your first encounter. Your body has to create intolerance from a previous exposure in order to react when exposed later on.
- Poison ivy does not spread—but you can easily get re-infected. When I got new breakouts, I assumed the poison ivy was spreading. In reality, I was probably getting exposed again. The oil can stay on clothes, bedding, garden tools, and pets for a long time. I kept coming in contact with new oil through one of these methods and re-infected myself. Before I could completely get over it, I had to clean everything that may have had poison ivy oil on it. Yep, even my dog got a bath! Some people say to wash everything in dish soap. Use hot water and soap at the very least.
- There are a few products to keep on hand for poison ivy emergency. Poison Ivy Soap contains a plant that is the antidote for poison ivy. It must be used immediately after exposure to counteract the poison ivy. For example, not long after my traumatic poison ivy experience, I was walking in the field. Looking down I saw the ground covered with three-leaved plants. I panicked. One date with poison ivy was more than enough for me! But there was no way out of the field but through the ivy. As soon as I got home, I thoroughly washed with Poison Ivy Soap. I did not break out. I’m not 100% certain it was poison ivy in that field, but no way was I taking the chance!
- Poison Ivy Oil can be used topically to help heal areas of the skin affected by poison ivy.
- Some people have extreme reactions to poison ivy and need medical attention. If that is you, please listen to your doctor’s advice.
Getting infected with poison ivy is a miserable experience. But combining the right products with careful clean up can reduce the suffering and help you heal. Here are some of our favorites down below!
Poison Ivy Oil
Poison Ivy Soap