‘Plants Bite,” tips to lessen exposure to poison ivy

Bug bites come and go, but plant "bites" can be much worse. We all know that rule, "Leaves of three, leave it be," but somehow each year someone ends up with the itchy, red rash from poison ivy.

It wasn’t hard to go find the oily plant growing up fences in local areas and yards. So how do you deal with it? Specialists advise wearing as much coverage as possible. This means long sleeved shirts, long pants, shoes, gloves and whatever you do, don’t touch your face!

Michael Dye, the pharmacist at New Graham Pharmacy, compared poison ivy exposure to a hot flame.

"It works pretty much like a candle flame…If you put your hand and pass it over real quick, it doesn’t burn your skin. It’s the same way with the oils in the poison ivy plant. If you wash that off real quick, you don’t have as much of a problem. You put the flame on your skin for a prolonged period of time, you get a burn. You leave the oils from a poison ivy plant on your skin for a long period of time, that’s when you start getting that irritation."

Dye said to be sure to wash everything that may come in contact with the oils. Including those gloves and garden shoes. Even gardening tools can make contact with the oils and leave you with a surprise rash days later from the tool. So remember the three-leaf rule and to wash everything thoroughly with soap and water.

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