Poison Ivy Has Met Its Match!
Learn how to avoid the painful itch of poison ivy or treat the rash if you come into contact with the plant.
What exactly is poison ivy?
No, we aren't talking about the Batman villain! Poison ivy, oak, and sumac are pesky groups of plants that nearly 85% of the population is allergic to & 10-15% of the population are highly allergic to poison ivy. It's not the plant that people are allergic to; instead, it's the oily resin called urushiol that people are allergic to and causes people to itch like crazy.
Symptoms of Poison Ivy
Some of the most common symptoms of a poison ivy rash are:
- Redness of the skin
- Difficulty breathing if you've inhaled the smoke from burning poison ivy.
If you've come into contact with poison ivy, it can take four hours to four days for any symptoms to occur, and the rash usually shows up in a straight line because of how the plant brushes up against the skin. If you aren't careful after coming into contact with poison ivy, you can spread the oil to other parts of your body, so try to avoid rubbing the oil on other body parts. Unfortunately, animal fur can spread the rash, so avoid cuddling until your precious puppy has had a bath and the oils have been removed from their fur.
See a doctor if you have some severe symptoms of a poison ivy reaction. Some of the severe symptoms of poison ivy include:
- The reaction is severe or widespread
- Your skin continues to swell
- The rash affects your eyes, mouth, or genitals
- Blisters are oozing pus
- You develop a fever greater than 100 F (37.8 C)
- The rash doesn't get better within a few weeks.
Fun Ways to Get Poison Ivy
While having poison ivy isn't fun, the process of getting poison ivy can be! Naturally, spending time outdoors will increase your odds of coming into contact with poison ivy, oak, or sumac. Whether your favorite hobby is hiking or gardening, here are some of the activities that increase your odds of getting poison ivy:
- Fishing by a river or lake
What is Urushiol Oil?
Urushiol is an oil that poison ivy, oak, and sumac leaves release when the leaf or other parts of the plant are damaged, bruised, or burned. The oil is super sticky and easily attaches to animal fur, clothing, skin, tools, hiking gear, etc. Some of the ways you can contract poison ivy are:
- Touching the plant's leaves, steam, or berries. That's right! Poison ivy produces berries that birds, bears, deer, muskrats, and many other wild critters love to eat. In addition to eating the berries, many of these animals will eat the leaves and stems of the plant.
- If you've been hiking and your favorite hoodie has come into contact with urushiol oils, avoid wearing or touching it until you've been able to wash that item of clothing. It's not just clothes that can contract the oil, but shoes, backpacks, socks, and your dog.
- Inhaling the smoke of burning poison ivy. Burning poison ivy is never a good idea, so if you have poison ivy in your backyard, avoid burning it!
How to Get Rid of Poison Ivy
Some of the best ways to remove poison ivy are:
- Pulling the plant out of the ground. Using thick gardening gloves to pull poison ivy out of the ground is one of the best ways to get rid of it. Be careful when doing this, and make sure you are fully covered before utilizing this method. If the plant has an extensive root system, you may also have to do some digging.
- Pour boiling water into the plant. If you pour boiling water onto the roots of poison ivy, it might take a few attempts, but this method can be successful.
- Use a natural herbicide. At Marie Originals, we prefer using natural methods to kill poison ivy. One of the natural herbicide recipes we've had success with is: Add 1 cup of salt, 1 tablespoon of dish soap, and 1 tablespoon of vinegar into a gallon of water for a DIY weed killer spray that will kill the plant over time. It will require a few treatments, so be persistent. Also, be careful when spraying it, so you don't kill surrounding plants!
- Get some goats! Goats love poison ivy and have a triangular-shaped mouth that destroys anything they eat. They kill the poison ivy plant and don't run the risk of passing seeds through their digestive tracts.
How to Identify & Avoid Poison Ivy
You may have heard the old wives' tale, "Leaves of three, let it be," when it comes to poison ivy, but there is some truth to this old rhyme! Poison ivy grows three leaves at the end of each stem. It might seem easy, but depending on how young or old the poison ivy plant is, it can actually be a bit difficult to spot if you aren't keeping an eye out for the plant. Poison ivy typically grows as a vining plant and uses aerial roots to cling to trees, walls, etc. Older and more established poison ivy plants that have been cut down can look like a shrub. During the warmer months, poison ivy is green, but the leaves turn a vibrant red or orange color during the colder months.
Treating Poison Ivy
Sometimes, even if you know what poison ivy looks like and are careful, you still end up with that itchy rash. Once you're out of the denial stage of having poison ivy, you check online to see what treatment works best against poison ivy. With so many online remedies for treating poison ivy, it can be hard to know what method is best. At Marie Originals, we've created the end-all, be-all poison ivy treatment! Our Poison Ivy Soap is the ultimate defense against poison ivy.
How Does the Poison Ivy Soap Work?
We're glad you asked! Our soap works so well because it removes the urushiol oil from the affected area, prevents the rash from spreading, and soothes the pain & inflammation caused by the oils. Our poison ivy soap can be purchased from our site, Amazon, CVS, Vitamin Shoppe, VitaCost, and these other retailers. Have our soap in your first aid kit, so you're ready for your next encounter with poison ivy!