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Preventing the Poisonous Itch: Tip for Preventing Poison Ivy, Sumac, and Oak Reactions

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By Rachel Derry
Staff Writer LIFamilies

One hazard of heading into the great outdoors is the possibility of spending a good part of your summer itch away, commonly due to poisonous plants you may come into contact with. Over 70% of the population is believed to be allergic to poison oak, sumac, and ivy. If you've ever had a reaction before you know that it’s not a fun experience. Here are a couple of tips to help you keep your sweet summer days poison ivy free.

To start, be sure to stay fully covered up when these poisonous plants are possibly going to be present. Wear long sleeves, long pants, thick socks and full/closed shoes (no sandals).

If you're going to be doing yard work where they may be present or if you are removing the plants (which is suggested) wear the above and include plastic gloves. Keep extra gloves around for if they tear or break. If you're able, you should also apply a barrier cream or lotion, such as Gardner’s Armor, which helps keep the plant oils from contacting your skin and starting allergic reactions.
Be sure to never burn any of the plants or any of your clippings if they are possibly mingled in. The smoke can carry the oils into the air and cause you to have a painful and possibly serious reaction in your throat and lungs.

The oils can stick to the tools and toys in your yard for up to 5 years. When in doubt, wash everything thoroughly. The same goes for your pets; their fur can carry poisonous oils right into your home. Be sure to wash them down good as soon as or before they enter your home or go near your furniture. Wash all of your own clothing immediately, including the shoes that you were wearing.

If you believe that you have come into physical contact with the plants hope is not lost, yet. Be sure to refrain from touching other areas of skin with your hands; even wiping your forehead with the back of your hand can spread the oil and cause a reaction. Be sure to keep Tecnu or Zanfel on hand for just these cases. They can be found in most any drug store, and they can help remove the plant oils from your skin, hopefully before they can cause a reaction.

Long Island Health, Fitness & Beauty Articles > Preventing the Poisonous Itch: Tip for Preventing Poison Ivy, Sumac, and Oak Reactions

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