Safety Tip of The Week

Poison Ivy Safety

Poison ivy is extremely common in the United States. The only geographical areas it is not found in are Alaska, Hawaii, and parts of the west coast. It is one of the most common triggers for rashes every year for both kids and adults who spend time outdoors. For some people, poison ivy does not affect them at all. On the other hand, many people are severely allergic to the plant and can end up in the hospital if they are not careful. It is important to know what poison ivy looks like and how to avoid getting a rash from the plant.

Poison Ivy Characteristics

  • It has three pointed leaves
  • The leaves can be shiny
  • The leaves can change colors depending on the time of the year- reddish in the spring, green in the summer, and yellow or red in the fall
  • It is able to grow as a vine or bush

Poison Ivy Rash Care

  • Use a cold compress, calamine lotion, non-prescription hydrocortisone cream, or an antihistamine to ease itching.
  • Call your doctor if the rash is near your eyes or covers a large part of your body.
  • Get emergency medical help or call 911 if you have a severe reaction.

The severity and characteristics of a rash from poison ivy may vary from person to person. The worst symptoms are often seen during days 4 to 7 after coming in contact with the plant. The rash may last for 1 to 3 weeks.

Safety Tips

  • Stay out of areas where you know poison ivy can be.
  • Wear long pants, a long-sleeve shirt, boots, and gloves when entering any area where poison ivy can be. The less skin exposed the better.
  • If exposed, wash the skin as soon as possible. If you get most of the oils off quickly, it will help to limit the rash.
  • Wash any items or tools that may have been in contact with poison ivy. The oils of the plant can remain on the objects for long periods of time and you can indirectly get a rash this way.
  • Never burn poison ivy to get rid of it. The burning plant can still release oils that could result in a widespread rash for anyone near the fire.

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