Warning signs of poison ivy

According to Ben Kirkland, you can get poison ivy any time of the year so it's important to educate yourself.


Photo: Kailey McCarthy

As temperatures continue to heat up outside, many people will take advantage of outdoor activities which could mean possibly running into poison ivy.

According to Chehaw Natural Resources Manager Ben Kirkland, there are three major plants that cause the common itching.

Poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac all contain an oil called urushiol which can get into the skin and spread through scratching.

Kirkland says the best thing you can do is educate yourself before heading outdoors to avoid running into a dangerous plant.

"All parts of that plant, the leaves,the stems, the bark, the roots, the berries, every part of that plant contains that oil and if your allergic to it you can catch it 12 months out of the year not just during the warm seasons," said Kirkland.

And one common misconception, not all plants with three leaves contain poison ivy.

If you come into contact with one of the plants, topical ointments will take care of most of the itching.

Kirkland adds, different people react to poison oak differently although the rash can last up to two weeks.

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