Below you will find a map of the United States, showing exactly where poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac grow. The lighter and dark green areas are abundant with the toxic plants, while the west coast rarely has them. You can never be too careful though, don't rule yourself out because this map shows that it doesn't grow in your area. You need to educate yourself, and learn what these plants look like, so that you can identify them and prevent yourself from touching them.
If you've already come into contact with Poison Ivy and are unsure what to do, then you've also come to the right place. If you think you came into contact with poison ivy, the first thing you should immediately do is wash your hands and any other affected areas with water and dish washing soap. Ideally you should do this within 15 minutes of contact. If you were lucky enough to have Zanfel on hand, then you can also apply that to remove the urushiol oil from the skin. Urushiol oil is the irritant found on the poison ivy leaves. When the leaf rubs onto the skin, the urushiol oil penetrates it. This is why the areas that come into contact with the toxic plants need to be washed immediately. It prevents the oils from penetrating the skin. Urushiol oils can also rub onto clothing and last up to a year. It is recommended you wash your clothing in hot water immediately, several times.
Poison Ivy Myths!
Some myths surrounding poison ivy, is that the blisters contain the urushiol oils, and if you break them it spreads. This is not true! Poison ivy takes up to 8 weeks or even longer to go away. The areas that break out later than other areas were just less sensitive than the areas that broke out first. Another myth is that the poison ivy rash is contagious and can be spread onto someone else. This is true and false. The poison ivy rash takes up to a week to finally start showing symptoms. If you have just come into contact with the urushiol oil, and decided to touch someone, it can be spread to the other person. However, if you touched the person a day later, they would not have the symptoms because the urushiols are gone. Most people are unaware they came into contact with poison ivy, and develop symptoms a week later. During the time between contact and the symptoms, the urushiol oils have already penetrated the skin and can no longer be spread to another person.
If you are just beginning to see symptoms from poison ivy, there are several things you can do to reduce the itching and the swelling. Calamine spray soothes the skin, and reduces the itching for several hours, you can reapply the spray up to 3 times a day. Taking a bath with epsom salt helps dry the rashes and blisters faster. Benedryl and Claritin helps with the swelling and itching as well. To read more home remedies for poison ivy, please click the link at the top of the page.
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