What You MUST Know About Poison Ivy - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

What You MUST Know About Poison Ivy

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(WLNS) - As summer nears more people are spending time working in gardens or walking through parks and woods.

That puts them right in the path of poison ivy.

The Michigan State University Extension Service has some reminders about dealing with the toxic plant.

1. People vary in their sensitivity to poison ivy, but may become more sensitive after repeated exposure to it.

2. You won’t get poison ivy unless you come in contact with the oil still on someone’s skin or clothing.

3. An oily resin called urushiol, which is found in all parts of the plant, is what causes skin rashes when people come in contact with it.

4. Urushiol is easily transferred to clothing, skin, tools or pet’s fur. If contaminated objects aren’t cleaned, contact with the oil on them can cause skin reactions much later.

5. Poison ivy should never be burned as the smoke from burning poison ivy contains the oil and can irritate lungs and nasal passages as well as skin and eyes.

6. The leaves of poison ivy may be shiny or dull and the leaf margins may be toothed or wavy, or have no teeth at all. The leaves may be hairy, or have no hairs at all. Its appearance can vary greatly, but in all cases it has compound leaves that consist of three leaflets. The leaflets are 2-5 inches long, green during the growing season and turning scarlet red in fall.

7. If your skin comes into contact with the weed while you're removing poison ivy, wash the affected area with a strong soap, using cold water only (hot water opens your pores and allows the toxin to seep in). Hardware stores and drugstores have specialty soaps that can remove the poison sap. Treat a rash with a drying lotion (such as calamine) or one recommended specifically for poison ivy rash.

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