From the Field

Poison Ivy: Busting 6 Myths to Avoid the Itch

July 10, 2018

Poison ivy. Photo © Lisa Ballard

When my son was in grade school, he begged to plant a vegetable garden. I thought it was a great idea; it would get him outdoors and get his hands in the dirt. I diligently tilled a patch of our lawn. We planted tomatoes, lettuce, string beans and green peppers. There was only one problem: my kid was a carnivore and quickly lost interest in our homegrown vegetarian fare.

The next summer, the weeds were chest high, so we turned the garden back to grass. In the process, I discovered stringy vine-like roots, which I yanked out with the rest of the tangled mess.

“I hope you were wearing a long-sleeved shirt,” said my husband when I mentioned the roots. “That might be poison ivy.”

“In our lawn?” I replied doubtfully. “I’m not allergic to it anyway.”

A week later, itchy, oozing blisters erupted all over my arms, torso and neck. The plant’s roots, which had laid dormant under our lawn, beaten back by the mower, had given me my first case of “urushiol-induced contact dermatitis”.

Until the rash disappeared, I was the family pariah. No one wanted to get near me for fear of contracting my malady. They needn’t have worried. I would only have been contagious if I had failed to shower after my anti-gardening exploits. (The blisters contain only water.)

How you get the rash without touching the plant is only one misconception about this toxic plant. There are more:

  • Myth #1: Poison ivy and its cousins, poison oak and poison sumac, are the only poison plants in the United States that cause an itchy rash.

    Mangoes in a farmer's market. By Snapdragon66 [CC BY-SA 4.0] from Wikimedia Commons

    Poison ivy grows in every state except for Alaska and Hawaii, but you can still get a similar rash in Hawaii if you rub mango skins against your body. You can also get blisters on your lips if you eat the sweet fruit directly off the rind.

    Poison ivy and mangoes belong to the Anacardiaceae family. Other plants in this family, such as cashews, also produce a rash-inducing oil. All cashew nuts are shelled and cooked before they arrive at the grocery store, which neutralizes their rash-inducing toxin. Unfortunately, the urushiol oil in poison ivy is resistant to heat.

    Interestingly, pistachios, another member of the Anacardiaceae family, doesn’t cause a rash.

  • Myth #2: Animals naturally avoid poison ivy because they sense it’s toxic to touch.

    Poison ivy berries. Photo © Lisa Ballard

    Both mule deer and whitetail deer, who are primarily browsers, seek leafy plants, including poison ivy. According to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, birds, including catbirds, chickadees and wild turkeys, sup poison ivy’s smooth, white berries, particularly during the winter when food is scarcer. Black bears, wood rats, raccoons and muskrats also eat the plant’s stems and leaves, and toads hide under it.

    Animals may not react to poison ivy, but they can give it to humans. This toxic weed flourishes in open woodlands, especially alongside openings, like footpaths, where it can get sunshine yet not get crushed by hiking boots. If you go hiking with your dog and he romps through a patch of poison ivy, then you pet your dog, your hands pick up the urushiol oil. Until you wash them, any bare skin on your body that you touch can get the rash, and any article of clothing or gear can transfer the itchy toxin to another part of your body or to someone else.

  • Myth #3: If you don’t see three leaves, it’s not poison ivy.

    Virginia creeper vine. Photo © Lisa Ballard

    While the mantra, “leaves of three, let it be”, helps identify poison ivy, which has three toothed, heart- or almond-shaped leaves growing from one point on a stalk, every part of the plant can cause a reaction, including the stems, berries and roots as I inadvertently discovered.

    When poison ivy first comes up in the spring, it looks dark red and glossy. The leaves quickly turn the same green as other leaves in a deciduous forest, but if you look closely, there may be tinges of red where the leaves come together. Then, in the fall, they put on a showy display of reds and yellows on par with any maple tree.

    This tenacious plant can grow as a stand-alone perennial, shrub, ground cover or vine. As a vine, it sprouts thousands of brown hairs that grasp the bark of its host tree. As it climbs toward the canopy and matures, its stem gets woodier and increases in diameter, up to several inches thick, as if a second tree has grown up hugging the original one.

    People often confuse Virginia creeper with poison ivy, but Virginia creeper has five leaves, not three. You don’t want to bathe in Virginia creeper either. Its sap can also cause an annoying rash.

  • Myth #4: I’m not allergic to poison ivy.

    Poison ivy. Photo © Lisa Ballard

    Don’t kid yourself. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, about 50 million people get the rash each year, making it one of the most-common allergies in the United States.

    If you don’t get it the first time you touch it, you will probably get it the second time. Unfortunately, the body doesn’t build immunity. On the contrary, the more times you are exposed to it, the worse the break out. The rash may appear in only a couple of hours on veteran poison ivy sufferers. Among first-timers, it can take up to 10 days.

    Urushiol oil binds to the skin in 20 minutes or less, and it’s concentrated stuff. Only one nanogram can trigger the rash. (The average human exposure is around 100 nanograms.) But there’s hope! If you know you’ve touched poison ivy and you immediately wash the exposed area with soap and water, your odds of getting the rash greatly decrease.

    If you think a large area of your body may have touched it, take a shower, not a bath. The oil can rise to the top of your bathwater and get on more of your body. If you’re in the backcountry, rinse the area in moving water. Don’t forget to wash your clothes and gear, too.

  • Myth #5: When poison ivy dies, it can’t cause the rash.

    Poison ivy vine on window. Photo © Lisa Ballard

    Urushiol oil is durable stuff. While the plant won’t produce more of it after it dies, the oil can linger for five or more years. You’ll need a quick trip to the emergency room if you unwittingly burn it in a pile of dead wood, inhaling the smoke, which can carry urushiol oil into your lungs. This nasty toxin can also become airborne from wildfires and lawnmowers.

  • Myth #6: Climate change has no impact on poison ivy.

    Poison ivy. Photo © Lisa Ballard

    Historically, backcountry travelers believed they were safe from poison ivy at elevations above 2,500 feet in the East and 4,000 feet in the West, and in desert climates. However, I live at 5,500 feet in the Beartooth Mountains near Yellowstone National Park and see it when I hike. I’ve also seen it in the arid Grand Canyon after a rare, heavy rain storm caused dormant poison ivy to emerge on sandbars.

    Poison ivy is creeping higher and drier, but perhaps more unsettling is the fact that it’s getting more potent. According to a 2006 study published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, poison ivy leaves are increasing in size and are coated with more and stronger urushiol oil as levels of carbon dioxide increase globally.

    I don’t mean to be an alarmist, just more observant. Whether doing yard work, jogging down a country lane or trekking in the mountains, you can bet I’ll be checking the flora before blithely blundering through it.

Join the Discussion

Please note that all comments are moderated and may take some time to appear.


  1. My farrier had a terrible time with it because so many clients’ horses wander through it in pastures and as she would handle their legs she would get it on her, even with long sleeves.

  2. Every year, I take poison ivy pills with a tiny amt of the oil in them. I’m convinced these help me either not to get it, or to have it less dramatically.

    1. That’s called confirmation bias. You’re taking a placebo. I hope you aren’t paying some quack for that.

  3. I love the taste of mango, but the first one I ate, off the rind of course, blistered my lips and made me itch inside my body. So if I interpret this correctly, I can peel one, rinse the fruit, wash my hands and safely eat it. Please tell me yes!

  4. Great article…….I have hiked through out the state of California and never encountered poison ivy….lots of poison oak….from see level to about 5000 ft…..Oak woodland areas, foot hills of all the mountain ranges, Coast Range and the Southern California ranges. Can you tell me in what counties or area of California we have poison Ivy. Poison oak too, grows as a small bushes and shrub to very large shrubs, to vines crawling as high as forty feet+ into oak trees and grey pines. Very prevalent in our Chaparral areas and riparian ravines. It is used as food (especially the berries) by a great many birds, as well as a nesting location for some.

    1. The area around Oroville, CA for starters, as the company, Manta, offers poison ivy removal services. Sacramento County includes info on poison ivy on its “Network of Care”, and this landscape company offers poison ivy removal services in a number of cities:

      While poison oak is by far the more common poison plant, in 2/3 of the counties in California, it’s worth keeping an eye out for poison ivy, too, especially in the southern most tip of California. Check out this range map:

      1. I don’t know where that range map got its info, but Calflora–a database combining range info from the UC Berkeley and Jepson Herbaria (the *official* keepers of CA plant records) and confirmed observation by professionals–has *zero* reported observations in the state.

  5. Thank you so much for sharing this article.

    I’ve also heard that you can get the rash from poison from the wind blowing and/or if burned, the oils from the plant carry through the smoke. So look-out if you’re walking past it or downwind from a leaf pile file that might have the plant in it. Is it true that the oil can travel through the air either by piggy-backing on a breeze or in smoke? Thanks in advance!

  6. Thanks for a good article. I learned several things, and am also a little shocked to learn that mangoes have a dark side! I spend time on the Mississippi River and live in Nebraska. I have leaned to look for ivy every time I take a step, and have avoided it for more than a year, until this month. One “myth” I have read many times relates to your statement that the blisters contain only water. I have found that I can get rid of the first spot of ivy (Zantek followed by Dawn soap) but the maddening thing is the burning spots and smears that spread from this now-dried-up spot. Not just water.

  7. I’m so allergic to poison ivy… it’s a horror to find that it is becoming more potent.. honestly

  8. If you pull it and burn it, stay away from the smoke. My husband found out the hard way.

  9. I manage to get into some several times each summer working in the yard. But I never see anything about how long the urushiol can last on clothing, pets, etc. before it is no longer irritating. Do you know

    1. Urushiol oil is stubborn stuff. It lasts for 5 +/- years on a dead poison ivy plant. Ditto anything else it’s on. You need to wash your clothes, your skin, your pet, your lawn chair, your gardening gloves and anything else that touches it with soap and hot water to get rid of it.

    2. I heard that some researchers found leaves in the pages of old books which monks had collected. After 2000 years the researchers broke out from the oil left on the leaves.

  10. A good tip to know for hikers and others, gleaned from an agricultural consultant magazine, is that jewel weed, which often grows in proximity to poison ivy in many regions, can act as a neutralizer. Soap and water or just water is better, but if you’re out away from both and see jewel weed, you can break the stalk and smear the juice on the poison-ivy exposed area of skin.

    If you aren’t familiar with jewel weed (or touch-me-nots), google a picture. It has orange flowers in late summer/fall.

    1. Poison ivy and jewelweed often grow near each other. It’s not scientifically proven that rubbing jewelweed on your skin after exposure to poison ivy will neutralize the urushiol oil, but many people believe that. This website is commercial, but it explains this herbal “cure” and shows photos of jewelweed:

      1. Other than steroids, lots of steroids, the only thing that helps me is jewelweed based remedies. I have tried all the regular ones I can find.

        Also I am sorry but the rash will spread on me without scratching and even after washing myself very very well in the shower. It doesn’t matter. It spreads on me no matter what and it is not reexposure either. I blew my new doctor’s mind a few months ago with how bad it spread and kept spreading. He insisted that it was reexposure but I know how and when I was exposed and it isn’t possible.

        1. You can have a systemic reaction to poison ivy. Typically, you break out where the skin is rubbed or irritated. People who have extreme reactions or who have extensive exposure often react this way.

  11. Needed much more info on identifying the plant and distinguishing it from similar harmless plants, as well as effective strategies to remove it.

  12. Ms. Ballard, your informative article sure brought memories of my early encounters with poison oak here in California. I’ve heard it said that poison ivy & poison sumac are east of the Mississippi and poison oak is west of the Mississippi. Any truth to that?

    My first experience was in 8th grade when I was biking and hiking off road in Southern California, and your warning about the oil being on one’s clothes or one’s pet is right on. I don’t have a memory of wandering into the underbrush, but I’ll bet my jeans brushed some as I rode my bike on narrow paths in the foothills and got transferred to my hands when I took my jeans off. I got a case so bad I had it everywhere. As a young boy I probably picked my nose, scratched my privates as well as other areas of my body. I had it everywhere and had to figuratively take a bath in Calamine lotion, which had me going to school with pink skin. They say Fels-Naptha bar soap, like the pioneers hand washed their clothes with cuts the oil. Do you think if Dawn dish soap can cut the oil contamination on sea birds, it might work as well on poison oak oil?

    The second time I got it, I was skinny dipping with friends on the Illinois River in Southern Oregon, and unknowingly sat in it on a large rock in the middle of the river. It was a fun ride home. When it was my turn to drive, my friends would pass me cold beers to place in my crotch. I remember using bleach to counteract the itch. The sting was more tolerable than the itch. Your advise to be observant is right on.

    1. It’s similar and equally nasty. The rash from poison oak is also caused by urushiol oil.

  13. The poisonwood tree deserves mention, along with the manchineel. They both occur in Everglades National Park. Poisonwood can be found in slightly elevated areas like pine rockland and roadways. Manchineel is usually in areas only a hiker might access. There are a few at water’s edge in the canal used by the canoe rental facility at Flamingo.

  14. The best thing to do if you get around poison ivy/oak is to wash with COLD water. That will keep the oil from going into the pores.

    The best thing to do if you get a giant rash (which means the oil has already merged with the skin and can’t be washed away) from poison ivy is to heat it up either in warm water or with a hair drier.
    The hair drier is easier, just don’t use high heat as you don’t want to burn yourself in the process. You basically are getting the area hot right at the point of burning. The heat causes all the cells to release the histamine. It’s is insanely euphoric. If it’s a large enough rash, you will feel the intense feeling from the head to toes, literally. The thing is, once the cells release all their histamine, it can take 8 hours to refill which means you can go 8 hours with no itching.

    Anti-histamine ointments don’t to anything for me but the hair dryer is 8 hours of peace.

  15. In March, few years back, took my dog to our fav. creek. It was warm for that time of yr. I always wear long sleeves, pants & boots. Later that night in MY PJ’s, Jack put his paw on my thigh. Next morning I had a paw print rash on my leg that lasted until summer!

  16. Noted Iowa State botanist Howard Loomis repeatedly taught that”All dogmatic statements are false!” I am reminded of that guidance when I read, here and elsewhere, that there is no sustained immunity to poison ivy and its kin. Maybe not, but in my family , through four generations beginning with my father , through his two children ( and I am near 80), my one child , and my three grandchildren, despite rural residence, vocation, and avocation, there has never been one case of poison ivy rash. Given the remarkable diversity of human physiological response, it would be most amazing if there were not some immune individuals and a heritable immunity. .

  17. As a kid, I remember being put into a tub and lathered with Calamine lotion when poison ivy blisters first appeared. One of the worst places to get it is between your fingers!
    Now, some 50 years later, I yank and pull and tug at the vines, leaves with bare hands and bare legs and hardly get any reaction. I do throw on some calamine lotion at first itching but how come I’m not very allergic anymore? Age?

    1. Good question. Most people have worse breakouts with each exposure. Are you sure those vines are poison ivy and not something else? If you wash within an hour or two after yanking them, you’re probably washing off the urushiol oil before it binds to your skin and causes the rash.

  18. A good article.
    I suffered from poison ivy rash when I was about 12 years old back in the 60’s as did my best friend. I will vouch for the fact that you can get it from the smoke when it is being burned unknowingly mixed in with fall leaves. We together, burned the leaves.
    It was a severe case and landed me in the doctor’s office. My face was covered and some other parts of my body but mostly my face.
    I remember walking into the doctor’s office and causing a small child to cry because he was afraid. I looked awful. To this day, I believe I helped my rash to get even worse as it was Halloween time and we covered our heads with sheets to go Trick n Treating. Perspiration and the heat from having it over my face most likely contributed.
    When I got older and thought back about it, how dumb was it to “cover” the frightening face when it was the perfect time to show it!
    I have never gotten poison ivy again. Poison Sumac, yes but not Poison Ivy!

    1. After suffering through several bouts (one in childhood) using calamine, I have had much more success with the new over-the-counter anti- histamine gel.

      Poison ivy is part of my life, as a Minnesotan, and someone who hikes and camps and gardens and spends time outdoors.

      Washing with soap and water is a good practice. It’s not always possible to know that you’ve been exposed, though, until it shows up, in the early stages as little blisters.

      Getting anti-histamine gel on the skin at the stage short circuits the whole process, It literally arrests the blisters and then they just disappear after a day or so. I keep the gel with me all the time whenever I am outdoors.

      Works great for mosquito bites, too.

  19. I find a few drops of tea tree oil in a small amount of water (1or 2 teaspoons) rubbed on itchy spots or rash work very well to get rid of poison ivy! But if you know where the oil might be on your skin rinse with rubbing alcohol then wash with soap and water it stop the rash before it starts!!!

  20. When I lived on the East Coast, my mother taught me to rub Poison Oak rashes with Jewelweed. Jewelweed grows near water in a damp soil environment. It has pretty flowers so you can see it. I used Jewelweed several times and each time it worked. I live on the West Coast now and I am surprised that I am not as allergic to Poison Oak, although I did get a little rash sometimes. I found out that there is a plant that resembles Poison Oak, but has red or orange berries, which are edible, and the vines were used by First Americans to weave baskets.

  21. In my experience a sure fire cure for poison ivy rash on the skin is to rub the affected area with the mushed end of a stalk of rhubarb. The astringent rhubarb juice wipes out the poison ivy oil and stops the rash overnight. I keep a clump of rhubarb growing in my garden for just that reason. Unfortunately, this does not work for poison parsnip. Not sure about poison oak or poison sumac. Many years ago this poison ivy cure was passed on to my land surveyor brother (who often encountered poison ivy in his work) by a wise elder lady of the Adirondack Mountains of New York State. So grow some rhubarb to have on hand if needed. This cure really does work.

  22. Another relatively newcomer to the poison plant list in the US is giant hogweed. It’s an invasive plant from southwest Asia. It’s much worse than poison ivy, oak or sumac. The plant can burn, scar and even blind a person. It can leave the skin with permanent discoloration as well. According the the DEC it currently grows in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, Oregon, Washington, Michigan, Virginia, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

  23. Man that’s a real ugly problem.Now I have to be more careful when burning yard waste. Thank you for this article.

  24. Effectiveness of Impatiens “Touch me Not’ sap in treating Poison Ivy exposure is more than legend. What is the biochemistry going on with this stuff?

  25. A rather famous pathologist told me one of the worst autopsies he ever did was on a body where the person had sat by a fire and inhaled poison ivy branches and stems. He described the lungs which I will not do here. Just be careful if you collect brush for fires.

  26. Thank you for the review and myth busters…Guess I have been lucky. Will NOW become vigilant and honor the “leaves of three…”

  27. While three leaflets are typical for poison ivy it is not unusual to see five leaflets per leaf. In that regard it is mistaken for Virginia creeper with dire consequences. I know, I was asked to find the location of poison ivy to prevent workers from exposure. I found it growing all over the construction equipment and I-beams the workers were cleaning and moving. The foreman was perplexed because the “leaves were not in threes” but fives. That is correct, it is a myth that leaves must be in threes. Apparently you missed that myth. Oh yeah they are leaflets not leaves.

  28. And it’s still one of the most beautiful plants around – especially in fall colors!


    1. Dig the roots out and set them out to dry. Bury the roots deep in a place you don’t want it to grow.

  29. Just be vigilant. Whether playing horseshoes in a friends backyard, or trekking down a trail, keep an eye out for the three-leaved plants and avoid getting close to it.

    1. That is what my mother said until she had a systemic reaction. Your body changes over time. Don’t tempt it. Mom climbed the apple tree that no one else was picking from. Very bad.

  30. I love the outdoors and hate poison ivy. I have learned to avoid any 3 leaved plant like the plague. But I still get it each year because it is all over North Carolina where I hike and do volunteer outdoor work.
    No one has mentioned 2 over the counter medications that have helped me. I keep a bottle of Technu on hand. It cleanses skin of the oil when used in conjunction with a cool shower. Also it can be used to treat clothing before you launder it.
    Another is Ivarest, which reminds me of Calamine Lotion, but is more effective to stop the itch. Hydrocortisone cream or lotion of at least 2% helps me get relief.
    It doesn’t take much exposure. It is amazing how a tiny lesion can make me suffer and even lose sleep. And the itch lasts for days. It amuses me when people say they are immune to poison ivy. Count your
    blessings until you get it!

  31. Very good information! I understand that at one time American nurserymen sold poison ivy, via catalog, as a luxuriant vine option to the English, who bought it and planted it in their landscapes. They quickly found out that it was not a nice plant to have and went on an eradication drive to rid themselves of this noxious weed. Why don’t we do the same here??

    1. It is a native plant that grows almost everywhere. Eradicating it here is a far different proposition from eradicating it as an ornamental from domestic gardens.

  32. BTW, my dermatologist claims that 25% of people who suffer from poison ivy outbreaks are also allergic to calamine lotion. I found this out the hard way when my fevered, crusty rash became too unbearable and went in to see him. That’s when he saw the reaction I’d had to the calamine lotion I’d been slathering all over it in an attempt to get some relief. Live and learn.

  33. I am a firm believer in Jewelweed, put the juices from it on the poison ivy on your skin and it should be gone within a day… the poison ivy, not your skin.

    In grade school, I was one of the kids in the neighborhood who piled the grass that was cut once a year to jump into. Unfortunately it was full of poison ivy that year. I was full of poison ivy to the point of where my eyes were almost closed. The doctor prescribed “Ivy Tox”, one drop in a glass of water gradually increasing the “Ivy Tox” , decreasing the water ( you drink it! horrible taste)I haven’t had much of a problem since then.
    Also, I think there is some truth in “washing” your hands in plain dirt to absorb the oils until you can wash off dirt and oil.

  34. My parents were foragers and general outdoors people. In her late 60s, my mother and father cleaned up my sister’s back 40 (sq feet, that is). They cut and pulled out vines etc., and then burned them. Apparently, my mother had developed sensitivity to poison ivy over the years and sustained an almost life-threatening response to the contact. She did recover but suffered greatly while living with this severe response to the toxins.

  35. Another item to be careful of is the fruit of the ginkgo tree. I understand you can handle the intact fruit without concern, but if the skin is broken, it can cause blistering.

  36. I always developed a rash when contacting poison oak when I was young. In the early 70’s I worked for the Forest Service and did field work in areas that supported much poison oak. To help prevent us from acquiring a rash, we had an oral poison oak extract available to us that we could take to build up our resistance to acquiring a rash. After a few weeks of taking the extract, I never again acquired a rash as long as I also washed properly at night when I knew I had walked through patches of the poison oak. I understand the extract is no longer available but it sure helped me from getting the rash.

  37. I got a dose, don’t remember where I got it. The solution I used was RATHER PAINFUL, as I elected to apply Clorox Bleach directly on all blisters. As I remember, I didn’t SLEEP WELL FOR ABOUT (4) four days.

  38. You didn’t mention mosquitoes injecting the poison ivy into you. That is usually the only time I get poison ivy.

  39. We will be in Montana in October, and will go walking. It might have a frost in Sept. does it go dormant after a frost, or should we stay on the path while walking?

  40. Thanks for the details. Poison ivy is truly awful if it gets on your skin ,or under your arms or on your neck. Be really cautious if you’re sensitive.

  41. Do deer commonly eat poison ivy?Since it is a native species , I hate to eradicate it. However, deer are short on food where I live.

  42. We used to have poison ivy the size of gorilla arms, really. My husband was trying to rip them from our
    trees in the back yard, by swinging on them. Alas, he got a very bad case of poison ivy. He did not do
    that again.
    I was wondering if the plant produces any berries that look like a raspberry? And, does the plant have

  43. A word of caution when washing off poison oak. My husband pulled some poison oak out of our back yard and afterwards threw his clothes in the washing machine and took a cool shower. Unfortunately, he used deodorant soap and not Fels Naptha (sp), which only spread the oil over more of his skin. After our nap I developed a hand imprint rash on my thigh, and you could see imprints of his fingers on his legs. I don’t know if I am especially sensitive or allergic to Calamine lotion, but my case developed so severely that my doctor had to put me on Prednizone .

  44. the wild plant Jewel weed is THE ANTIDOTE to poison ivy rashes. it actually grows right among poison ivy. if a leaf of Jewel is held under clear water, it sparkles like aluminum foil, and doesnt get wet!
    to use jewel weed, pull up A stalk from the ground and give thanks. in the stem and in the roots is a pretty clear mucilaginous fluid. Take the stem and gently smush it all over your rash getting the juice all around the area. if you even Think you came in contact w poison ivy, find some Jewel Weed and use as directed above to prevent the rash!
    lastly, one can get infected w poison ivy even in the snow!!

  45. Note: California should be included on the list of states where poison *ivy* does *not* grow: There are no confirmed sightings of it within the state, per Calflora (, the clearinghouse for plant observations. We do have lots and lots of poison *oak*, though.

  46. Good to know!!
    I destroy pison ivy when I see it with disposable gloves!!
    Thank you for this insight most informative!

  47. Back when the world was young I contracted poison ivy rash. My mother, using the old open top washing machine, had me plunge my forearms into the bleached water. It seemed to make the rash go away, as I recall. I was but 5 or 6.
    Years later, my son was stricken, his eyes swelling until I told him, “You look like Garfield The Cat!” Any ‘infection’ that near the brain can be very threatening.
    A prescription for prednisone, a steroid, cost $1.98 cents, and gave him relief.
    I’m anti-chemical poison on my property, but poison ivy gets an exemption. I use an ivy-kill spray which alleges to absorb on the sprayed leaf and go to kill the roots. The roots are well-developed and persistent, possessed of the wonderful tenacity of plant life, but some control is possible.
    The news that the increased carbon put in the ambient air by the human phenomenon of the last 169 years, The Industrial Revolution (1850), where Homo Sapiens, ‘knowing man’, evolved into Homo Ignitius, ‘burning man’, is causing evolutions in living things should not have surprised me. I read somewhere a fungus, usually only found in laboratories, has escaped into the wild and is expanding its survival region north and south of the equatorial climes, thanks to atmospheric heat retention. The ‘human phenomenon’ went from one-billion ‘knowing men’ all alive, all at the same time in 1850, to seven-plus billion all alive, all at the same time, and burning anything that will burn, in exponential increases, over the last 169 years. In just seventy-five years there were two-billion (1850-1925). Just thirty-seven years to three-billion (1962). Just fourteen years (1976) to four-billion, ten years (1986) five-billion. ‘They’ have quit talking about it so numbers are harder to come by in 2019.
    Global climate disruption is a Threatening Change, capital T, capital C, and demands humans enact tactics in a strategy of Adaptive Response to enable survival of living things, including humans. You don’t have to debate Cause and Effect. The Effect IS happening, and demands Adaptive Response.
    Finding Leadership Decision-Makers in commerce and government possessed of the intellect and integrity (It demands both!) to plan and enact those tactics is proving to be problematic. Those who have their money invested in continuing man’s ‘Mine! All mine!’ burning-behavior about planet Earth’s resources are resistant to Adaptive Response. Interestingly, those entities are the best equipped to make the Adaptation, financially, and whose survival motive should be on the minds of their Leadership Decision-Makers. Fossil fuelers could preserve their resources to supply human demands far further into the future, for uses we can’t readily Adapt away from.
    If Mother Nature shines the Sunstar, capture that energy. Mother Nature’s nuclear wastes are ‘safely’ kept at the site of energy generation, 93 million miles away. If Mother Nature moves her air or water, capture that energy. Oceans and rivers are in constant motion. Mother Nature’s already made the investment. There is geo-thermal energy in the ground at your feet, wherever you are.
    Meanwhile, poison ivy is burning man’s harvest, larger leaves, more and more potent urushiol oil. What else is happening to living things in Adaptive Response to increased carbon dioxide? The oceans are acidified, meaning every plant and animal living there lives in an acidic environment. Cancer grows in the absence of oxygen, and acid chases oxygen out of living tissues. Capital T, capital C.

  48. Claiming that the following is a myth is misleading: “If you don’t see three leaves, it’s not poison ivy.”

    If we read the whole section under that, we will understand what you mean.

    However, I recommend that the myth title be corrected, because, reading the title alone, people will think that perhaps a plant with five leaf sets, for instance, could be poison ivy.

  49. Dandruff shampoos work better than plain soap and water and better than the expensive poison ivy washes. Rub it on your skin where you’ve been exposed to the oil, let it dry for a while, then wash it off. This works really well especially if you do it soon after exposure. Homeopathic remedies can be used as preventatives and treatment. They’ve completely changed my life, as I no longer have to worry about poison ivy. I used to get it as bad as second degree burns. The homeopathics have actually helped me build up immunity, and I rarely get more than a very mild rash if anything at all.

  50. I once got it on my thighs and butt from walking around the woods naked. I didn’t wear a bikini that Summer! I had to use plenty of lotion. Even though I still like to explore the forest in the nude, I’m more careful now.

  51. I’ve gotten poison ivy as long as I can remember. I would even get yearly shots as a child. But that would just slow it down. I would get it the same time every year. I would not go in woodland areas just for that reason and I would get it from the dog. Now I know exactly what it looks like and I love to hike and out door activities so I dress for it, watch for it and wash after it. Believe me it will find you and you won’t like.

  52. I recall that some 70 years ago when i was a camper at an overnight camp for girls, i was very homesick. I decided that the best way to get home was to rub poison ivy leaves all over (and i do mean all) my body. In 2 days I was covered, head to toe, and everywhere in between, with itchy, weepy pustules. Did that get me sent home from camp? On the contrary, I ended up in the camp infirmary for a week. I am 81 years old and can recognize poison ivy immediately, and I stay far away from it!

  53. I have a vine that looks like poison ivy it is dark green has 3 leaves except the leaves have a smooth edge instead of a jagged edge is it also poison ivy.

  54. Just did some fence “weed whacking” in Cleveland Ohio. Cut down Pokeweed,a tall plant with red stalks and berries. The vines were entwined around this large stalk. I had to cut and yank….must have gotten some of the juices from stalk as I hauled it to the pile. Two days later…typical poison ivy blisters started just on my forearms. Next time…long sleeves! I failed to look up this plant before dealing with it. Has the Urisol in the stem.
    Many articles found about medicinal use of this plant.

  55. No myth if you have ever been around the plants. You did forget the poodle bush and stinging nettles!!!! None of the witch you want to touch either.

  56. I am taking a ceramics class. The first month of class my fingers broke out in poison ivy like blisters. I thought it was poison ivy. But, it turns out that I am allergic to the clay. Well actually clay is very inert and I am most likely allergic to the things living in the clay like molds and microscopic creatures. My question is do molds or other microscopic creatures produce urushiol oil ?

  57. I have Posion Ivy and every time I eat or drink, and brush my teeth it taste like grass? Why.