It is spring time and once again it is time for cleaning of yards, debris from winter and just general clean up around your property. Time for Poison Ivy again!
A few key facts about poison ivy to keep in mind:
- The rash is caused by oil, Urushiol
- Urushiol is present in ALL parts of the plant
- It only takes 1 billionth of a gram to cause a rash
- ¼ ounce of urushiol is enough to cause a rash for every person on earth (if all were allergic)
- Urushiol normally stays active between 1-5 years on any surface, including dead ivy plants. Rash depends on individual sensitivity
- Some people are not allergic to urushiol now, but may become so over time and with exposure
- Highly sensitive people can have a reaction within 10 minutes or less of exposure
- Urushiol can be spread on tools, trucks, clothing, paperwork, etc.
- Wash contaminated work clothes separately
- Clean tools that have come in contact with the plant
- It can grow as a groundcover, free standing bush or climbing vine
- Often grown on field edges, roadsides, fencerows, etc.
- Three shiny leaflets are attached to woody stem
- Size, shape and color of leaflets vary
- Climbing vine has “fuzzy” tendrils
- White-yellow flowers in the springtime
- White berries, fruit in the fall that may persist all winter long on ends of branches
- Poison ivy and stinging insects are hazards that should be addressed in your pre-clean-up hazard survey.
- Avoidance is the best method of protection
- Learn what it looks like and where it grows
- Wear long sleeves, gloves, etc.
- Use tools if you need to contact the plant on the ground but remember to clean that tool
If you do contact any part of the plant:
- Wash affected areas with large amounts of clear water, avoid soaps as they may spread the oil
- Use products like Tecnu to help remove the oil
- Use Zanfel for light to moderate reactions
- Seek medical attention for serious reactions