Being in the woods this spring and summer can be an exciting adventure. Whether you’re camping, playing outside with your kids, or going for a hike it’s important to know the hazards of poisonous plants. By poisonous plants we mean the ones that cause an allergic reaction, which can be a bothersome plant for many people. 85% of the population will have a reaction to these pesky plants! So here’s how to treat poison oak and other poisonous plants this summer and beyond.
Poison Ivy: How It Causes A Rash
Some facts about poison ivy are: you can get a rash also known as contact dermatitis by touching the oil on the plant, or by coming in contact with something that the plant has touched like clothes, toys, camping or sporting equipment. In fact, you can still get oil contact on most surfaces from many years back. Scientists have actually found plant matter from these poisonous plants on surfaces dated from a hundred years back. In most cases once you have the rash you can’t spread it to another person, only the oil from the plant can spread.
You can also get poison ivy by burning the wood for a bonfire, inhaling the smoke can leave some people in the hospital. No one is immune to getting poison ivy, oak, or sumac. Some people are less susceptible to getting it, but no one is in the clear. Your body can have a reaction every time it is exposed.
If you are exposed to any of these poisonous plants you will want to rinse your body with cold water within an hour after being exposed. When showering do not use hot water, this will open your pores and let the oil penetrate into your skin. You can use an antibacterial soap to clean your skin, and preferably cleansers with Aloe Vera or Eucalyptus to soothe irritation, like this one from Molton Brown.