Sometimes, the most beautiful things can be the deadliest in nature. Case in point? All of the local wives around here that take turns watching all of the kids can all give you a few tales of poison ivy causing more than enough stress to last a lifetime. Just last week, we went on a nature hike that gave more than a few of us mild to severe cases of poisonous ivy that was absolutely no fun. The hard part about it all is that it is not that easy to ascertain what is poison ivy and what is not.
At first, we just thought it was normal itching and scratching from running in the woods and being in nature. The same goes with the red skin. But when we all got back home, the red rash appeared and the itchiness intensified to a point where we knew it had to be a case of poison ivy. It seemed like all of the kids had it and we at once begin looking for some home remedies to try out. As it turns out, we all seemed to have a few we wanted to try and so we did. Of course, not all of them were as effective as others, but by and large, they all helped alleviate the pain and blotchiness to some degree.
Did you know that poison ivy grows just about everywhere in America? It also grows in parts of Mexico, Asia, and Canada, so it is truly a worldwide problem. Now I know that I should always be on the lookout for the tell-tale leaves that are always three-pointed. During the spring, these leaves can even take on a slightly reddish tint, while during the summer they are green, and yellow, orange, or red during the fall.
How Does Poison Ivy Spread?
Nearly 85% of the people that come into contact with poison ivy have a reaction to the oil it releases called urushiol, which can easily be spread to other people. It’s so darn pesky because it can stick to nearly anything from shoes to clothes, tools to pets. It even can be transferred from a cell phone to any object and anywhere on the plant that you touch – from the stem to the root – can cause a reaction. Having said that, here are some of the best ways to get rid of a rash should you need to fight it off.
Wearing Proper Clothes
If you know that you are going into an area that potentially may be home to poison ivy, you should dress accordingly and cover as much of your skin as you possibly can. That includes wearing:
Shirts that are long-sleeved
Pants tucked into socks
Shoes that are closed-toed
Rinse, Lather, Repeat
If you have been exposed to poison ivy, you have to act fast and rinse your skin with rubbing alcohol and soapy water at least an hour after coming into contact in order to remove all of the possible urushiols that can cause the rashes to develop. At the very least, rinsing and rubbing alcohol will reduce the severity of your poison ivy exposure.
As soon as you have washed your body, you need to wash everything that came into contact with the plant. Urushiol can remain on clothes and objects for years, so if you don’t act fast, it will only return until you rid all of your belongings of it.