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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Preventing Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac

poison_ivyObviously, if you don’t want to be affected by poison ivy, sumac, oak, you need to get rid of them from your yard. Easier said than done. But what if you come into contact with the plants while out hiking or working somewhere? If you act quickly, you need not suffer with a painful rash that turns into oozing blisters.

It happens. Archaeologists, gardeners, surveyors, outdoorsmen generally brush up against the vines. Even pets can bring it home on their fur and although it doesn’t affect them, it can be passed to you. The urushiol resin can last for years on pruning shears, trowels or gloves.

I have a girlfriend who breaks out every summer. She loves to garden, tending prize roses, topiaries and hedges. It helpsPoisonOak her relax. But then I see her out and about at night… wearing sunglasses. Somehow, she rubs her eyes, not realizing that she is spreading the poisonous oil. We suggest precautions she might take— wearing gloves, spraying the plants with weed killer and staying away until they are totally dried up and dead— but yet, the call of the wild entices her.

So here’s what you need to do….

Get to know the three vine varieties: poison ivy, sumac and oak. I got a very bad case of poison ivy from sitting on a tree trunk stretched over a river when I was about 12 or 13. My face doubled in size, eyelids almost swollen shut. It necessitated me being out of school for two weeks. The itching and pain was unbearable. How I caught the rash is hard to imagine since it was the middle of winter and my friend (who also got a bad case of it) and I were wearing winter jackets, gloves, long pants and boots. Know how to identify the plants.

POISON SUMACShould you come into contact, you must wash with cold water and dishwashing liquid soap within 15 minutes. Anything like Dove, or even another brand that cuts the greasy oil is good. Wash and rinse well. Same with the sink! Throw the towel in the laundry immediately, also.

If you’re in the field in a remote locale, some have said that rinsing with water and vigorously rubbing the skin with a cloth also works. The point is to remove the poison.

We have washed with the dishwashing liquid and it worked. No poison ivy. Absolutely amazing.

But what if you get the rash? Benedetto had a severe case once and he used bleach on a cotton ball. Dabbing at the rash, or even pouring the bleach over the skin, he then wrapped his arm in gauze bandages which lessened any urge to scratch. It was still bad, but the bleach dried out the rash and sped up the process.

Poison ivy is never fun, but I hope these tips help!


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