Friday, August 03, 2007

Battling the Ivy

Poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac are the most frequent cause of allergic reactions, affecting as many as 10 million Americans each year!! So, be informed, and safeguard your family, as you enjoy the Summer. Leaves of Three, Let Them Be: Poison Ivy, Poison Oak Poison Sumac Recognize: Poison Ivy and Poison Oak have an extended middle leaf. In fact, Poison Sumac has seven green leaves. Poison Ivy A climbing plant that is especially common in the eastern and central U.S., that has leaves in groups of three, greenish flowers, and white berries, and that produces a very irritating oil usually causing an intensely itchy skin rash. Poison Oak Also a climbing plant, very similar, in comparison. It can also grow like a shrub, and climb upwards of eight feet. It has the same effects, on the skin. Poison Sumac An American swamp shrub that has smooth, but feather-like, leaves, greenish fl.owers, and greenish white berries and produces an irritating oil. Also called Poison Dogwood. All three of these offenders use the same method of communication. They secrete an oil, found in the leaves. For most people, when they come in contact with the oil, the skin becomes irritated, and itchy. It starts out with small red bumps, and, if not treated, can turn into quite a nasty rash. -- Luckily, it's not contagious. Be sure to wash the effected area thoroughly. Once the oil is removed from the skin, and the clothing, it cannot spread. You may treat it, using a variety of methods. There are lots of creams, lotions, and sprays, offered in your local drug store, as well as a variety of antihistamines. The best way to prevent an outbreak is to be informed. Learn to recognize the plants, and be cognizant of how it spreads. When your family comes home, from an outing, change clothes, right away. Rinse exposed skin, that may have came in contact with the oil.

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