Poison ivy tops the list of plants to avoid because it contains urushiol, an oily resin that binds to the skin on contact and may result in a hypersensitivity reaction characterized by itching, burning skin eruptions. This rash-causing poison ivy sap is a clear liquid found in the plant's leaves and the roots, which many people develop an allergy to over time.
Urushiol oil remains active for several years, so handling dead leaves or vines can cause a reaction. In addition, oil transferred from the plant to other objects-such as gardening tools, an article of clothing, or even a pet-can cause the rash when it comes in contact with human skin. If poison ivy is eaten, the mucus lining of the mouth and digestive tract can be damaged. And if poison ivy is burned and the smoke inhaled, a rash may appear in the lining of the lungs, causing extreme pain and respiratory difficulty that may become life-threatening.
Lou Paradise, president and chief of research of Topical BioMedics, Inc., makers of Topricin, says, "It's a particularly strong year for poison ivy, so it's important for everyone to be aware there are ways to prevent outbreaks, or safely treat rashes and minimize the discomfort and duration should they occur."
ABOUT THE PLANT
Captain John Smith was the first to describe the plant, coining the name "Poison Ivy" in 1609. Poison ivy grows throughout much of North America, and is extremely common in New England, the Mid-Atlantic, and southeastern U.S. It's typically found in wooded areas as well as exposed rocky areas and open fields, and can be recognized by its group of three leaflets on small stems coming off larger main stems. For decades parents have taught their children the sing-song phrase "leaves of three, let it be" as a way of learning to spot this pretty but toxic plant. Poison ivy also has inconspicuous greenish flowers with five petals, and berry-like fruits that are hard and whitish.
There are two types of poison ivy, the climbing variety, toxicondendron radicans, and the non-climbing, toxicodendron rydbergil (from the Latin toxicum, "poison," and the Greekdendron, "tree"). Because the varieties interbreed, they look similar and sometimes grow in the same places. They also create the same allergic rash, which may last anywhere from a week to three weeks.
Although some people are immune to poison ivy, most people develop a rash after coming in contact with the plant. After the oil has touched the skin it takes about 12 to 36 hours for redness and swelling to appear, followed by blisters and itching. Contrary to popular belief, scratching or oozing blister fluid cannot spread the outbreak or transfer it to other people. New lesions that appear a few days after a breakout of primary lesions means that there was less oil deposited on that area of the skin, or that the skin was less sensitive to it.
WINNING THE BATTLE AGAINST POISON IVY
Poison ivy's urushiol oil is extremely potent, and only one nanogram (billionth of a gram) is needed to cause a rash. Even if you've never broken out you cannot assume you are immune as the more often you are exposed to urushiol, the more likely it is that you will break out with an allergic rash. In fact, upwards of 90% of the population develops an allergy to it.
You and your family can have a more enjoyable fall by following these tips for avoiding outbreaks of poison ivy, along with these helpful treatments for soothing and healing rashes if you do succumb.
SYMPTOMS REQUIRING IMMEDIATE MEDICAL ATTENTION
If you experience any of the following symptoms, go to the emergency room right away:
--Trouble breathing or swallowing
--Many rashes/blisters or a rash that covers most of your body
--A rash that develops anywhere on your face of genitals
--Swelling, especially if an eyelid swells shut
About Topical BioMedics, Inc.
Topricin products are made in the U.S.A. and are in compliance with federal rules for homeopathic over-the-counter medicines. Topricin products are growing in popularity and are safe for diabetics and the entire family, including pregnant women. Topricin is also a lifestyle product that athletes and other active people appreciate for its ability to help with performance and recovery.
Topricin formulas contain: no parabens, petroleum or harsh chemicals, are odorless, greaseless and non-irritating, and produce no known side effects. Doctors and pharmacists can find more information about Topricin in the Physicians' Desk Reference (PDR). www.Topricin.com.
For advertising and promotion on HealthNewsDigest.com, call Mike McCurdy: 877-634-9180 or tvmike13@HealthNewsDigest.com. We have over 7,000 journalists as subscribers.
Top of Page
Us | Job Listings
| Help | Site
Map | About Us
Advertising Information | HND Press Release | Submit Information | Disclaimer