Thursday, August 10, 2017

Don't Scratch That Itch

If you have never felt the wrath of an allergic reaction caused by Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, or Poison Sumac, you are in luck.  Since most of the world’s population is allergic to the urushiol oil-the organic compound found in theses plants that causes the allergic reaction-its normally just a matter of time before someone feels the redness, itching, or even blistering caused by coming into contact with these plants. 

What’s even scarier is that these plants can be hiding in your garden, on your trees, or even growing on your home.  These poisonous plants can be hard to identify, even harder to remove, and stay potent and infect you year around. 

What is the best way to make sure you are not infected?  Identification of these plants is key.  Knowing not what to touch or rub against will certainly alleviate the endless scratching associated with infections from these plants.  “Longer middle stem, stay away from them, Leaves of 3, let them be, or side leaflets like mittens, will itch like the dickens” are all silly reminders to keep in mind when making possible contact.  

If you are infected, remove all clothes that were worn at that time and take a cold shower immediately.  This will reduce the chances of an allergic reaction as the urushiol oil takes 24/48 hours to attack the skin.  Also, this oil can remain on garments for months and still be contagious so making sure those are cleaned is paramount.  

If its too late and the itching has already commenced, avoid scratching the infected areas at all costs.  Find a hydro cortisone cream or calamine lotion to help reduce the itching of the rash.  If none of these are available, they using a cold compress until these medicines can be administered. 

So on your next trip to the garden or your next stroll through the woods, keep this info graphic in mind if you should be so lucky as to come into contact with any puzzling plant or green.  You may just avoid an itching, annoying predicament.  

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