Running into a patch of poison ivy is not a pleasant experience for most people, especially if an allergic reaction occurred in the past and poison ivy treatment had to be sought. Poisonous plants like poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac are located throughout the United States, except for Alaska, Hawaii, and the southwestern states. Poison ivy is a three leafed vine in most parts of the country; in the northern states around the Great Lakes region it grows more like a shrub. Poison oak is similar to poison ivy but the leaves resemble an oak leaf and the underside is of a lighter green. Poison oak is a also a shrub, and poison sumac is more of a woody shrub with clumps of green berries hanging from underneath the leaves. So if you run into anything looking like this, stay out of it if you can.
An allergic reaction to poison ivy will not occur with the first exposure, and subsequent exposures may not result in an allergic reaction for a few hours, or even a few days later. The skin will be red and itchy at first, then fluid filled blisters will develop in streaks or patches where contact was met with the plant. If the mucous membranes are involved, especially if plants are burned, reactions can be quite serious. Poison ivy treatments vary depending on what area of the body was exposed and to what degree. For a milder exposure, poison ivy treatment may just be a cold shower and over the counter calamine lotion or topical steroid cream. A more severe exposure may require more extensive poison ivy treatments, such as oral steroids to get the rash under control.
One of the best poison ivy treatments is avoidance. Poison ivy works by an oil that is secreted by the plants leaves. When it touches your skin, it sticks, and causes an allergic reaction. The poison ivy oil is very easily transferred from one part of the body to another, and can be transferred from one person or animal to another. This is why when your dog runs through the poison ivy and you pet him later, you get poison ivy. It is also the reason why you can get poison ivy from touching clothing that has been rubbed by poisin ivy. So the best poison ivy treatment would be to wear long pants when in brushy area and scrubbing any exposed skin with hot soapy water after any contact with poison ivy to remove the poison ivy oils.
Poison ivy treatment does not necessarily involve a visit to the doctor’s office, and many times exposure is going to occur out in the country somewhere away from medical facilities. Most people don’t travel around with calamine lotion either, but the first and foremost thing that anyone should do if exposure has occurred to poison ivy, or other poisonous plant is to take a cool shower and rinse off any plant residue remaining. Most convenience stores carry cortisone cream that can be put on the rash. If symptoms are more severe seek medical attention. The best poison ivy treatment is of course, awareness and avoidance. If you’re in area ripe for poisonous plants then stay out if you can, otherwise be knowledgeable of poison ivy treatments.
Dean Novosat writes for WellHabit.com . Here you’ll find a collection of health and fitness research and articles.