Save money by recognizing poison ivy


089Q4053.JPG Poison Oak, Poison Sumac, & Poiso...
Image by Fabric-Guy via Flickr

A lot fewer people would visit the ER or their family doctor for poison ivy if they were more astute at recognizing the vine and the dermatitis.

The poison ivy plant grows through North America east of the Rockies.  The degree of allergy to poison ivy varies from person to person, but tends to magnify with repeat exposure.  People who have thought they were immune are surprised to find they, too, can get the rash.

To address the first problem, recognizing the plant, I’ve included several pictures.  Keep in mind that poison ivy may grow as an ivy, a bush, a vine, or a ground cover

In the following pictures note that the color of the leaves varies from green, to brown, to red. The surface of the leaf may be dull or waxy.  One picture shows the side leaves having a mitten-like appearance. 

Poison Ivy on a tree on Teddy Roosevelt Island
Image via Wikipedia


This is an old poison ivy vine from my backyard
Image via Wikipedia


Poison Ivy showing red leaves in the fall.
Image via Wikipedia


Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans ), Ottawa, ... 
Poison ivy in privet hedge
Image via Wikipedia


Poison Ivy, found on an educational trail at t... 
Poison ivy produces urushiol to protect the pl...
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>Poisonivyrash.jpg Tristan Denyer
Image via Wikipedia


Urushiol-induced contact dermatitis on arms af...
Image via Wikipedia


Poison ivy rash
Image via Wikipedia


Note that the rash tends to appear in areas where the plant can brush against the body.  Many people develop the rash on their arms from carrying brush for disposal, weeding, or hedging.  Brushing against the leaves tends to cause patches of the rash, whereas scraping by a stick or twig tends to cause linear lesions. The rash from poison oak or poison sumac would look similar.

© Cynthia J Koelker, MD – All rights reserved


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