Four leaf clover leaves are pretty to pick, but for poison ivy plants remember the line, “leaves of three, let it be”. It is the urushiol oil that is the problem resulting in an itchy, red rash. Teach your kids how to identify these plants and steps to take if they think they touched poison ivy.
How to Prevent Poison Ivy
This doesn’t always work, but if you can think you’ve touched the urushiol oil and you act quickly (between ten and fifteen minutes after contact), by using rubbing alcohol, you may be able to prevent a skin rash eruption. After using the rubbing alcohol on the area, take water (without soap) and wash it. It is also helpful to jump in the shower . Remember that the oil can spread to another part of the body or to another person.
This means that nails should be cut, the bottoms of shoes cleaned very well (or bagged temporarily), clothing that may have brushed agains the plant needs to be put in a plastic bag to keep from contaminating other items. Because it’s easy to scratch oneself with an itchy rash, be sure that the hands and nails are thoroughly free of any urushiol oil. Even so, scratching a rash is never a good thing. It can lead to bacterial infections, impetigo and other problems.
Have calamine lotion on hand to treat itching if you didn’t nip it in the bud with the alcohol. Use oatmeal baths to soothe the skin and stop the urge to scratch by diminishing itching. If necessary, antihistamines like benadryl will provide hours of relief from the feeling of itchiness and is a valuable tool to prevent irritation of the problem.
Poison Ivy and Sumac are easy to get on one’s skin through camping trips, wood romping, gardening and walks to school.