Poison ivy is a nuisance weed that causes an allergic reaction called contact dermatitis when you come into contact with it. The result is inflamed areas of the skin with intense itching.
Reactions to contact with poison ivy vary from person to person. Some people have no reaction, while others have intense reactions. Poison ivy reactions do not always require direct contact and can occur from petting a dog who recently ran through a patch of this annoying weed.
How To Treat Exposure To Poison Ivy
Poison ivy is typically found in wooded areas. It is an innocent looking ivy that is best identified by groups of three identical leaves. When exposed to this vine, large swollen and red, itchy rashes on the skin may occur and can spread to other parts of the body if the areas are rubbed or scratched. In severe cases, blisters may occur. If you do not treat it immediately, the rash may last between 10 days and three weeks. If you think you are getting a severe reaction, see a doctor immediately. A doctor will likely treat the rash with antibiotics.
The allergic reaction comes from oils on the surface of the leaves and must be removed as soon as possible after exposure to avoid problems. If you know that you have been exposed, wipe the area with rubbing alcohol or an alcohol towelette to help remove the oil. Next, wash the area immediately with cold water. Do not use hot water because that opens the pores in the skin, which allows the oils to penetrate.
After that, you can take a warm shower and use lots of soap to help remove the oil. Rinse yourself thoroughly so that you do not just spread the oil around.
How To Kill Poison Ivy
If your yard has become infested with poison ivy, you will need to kill it. First, be sure to wear heavy clothing and long sleeve shirts and gloves when dealing with this plant. The traditional, organic method for dealing with it is to pull it out by the roots. Bag the removed plants and throw them in the trash. If you try to burn it, the oils will be released and you can be exposed simply from the fumes.
The chemical method is to use a herbicide, such as Ortho Brush-B-Gon or Roundup. Mix the chosen chemical with the recommended ratio of water and use a tank sprayer. Some herbicides come in a sprayer and are pre-mixed and ready to use. Apply the herbicide when the ivy is fully leafed-out.
If you are spraying in wooded areas be careful when applying the herbicide so that you do not spray a herbicide directly on trees or or good plants that you do not wish to kill. A light coating of spray directly on the poison ivy leaves is all that is needed. You do not need to saturate the ground. Herbicides work through absorption in a plant’s leaves. You may have to repeat the spray treatment if more ivy emerges. For difficult areas near trees or favorite plants, you can apply the herbicide to the leaves using a brush.
Continue to watch for new plants that may re-emerge and re-treat the areas as needed. it can be difficult to eliminate poison ivy, but with a little diligence, it can be done.