Do's And Don'ts To Prevent Poison Oak/Ivy


1. Learn to recognize these plants. Find out where they grow.

2. Eliminate plants from yards, gardens, camping areas, picnic grounds, etc.

3. Wear protective clothing-gloves and long sleeves-when working in areas where these plants grow.

4. Remove and launder all clothing after working in or around these plants. Wash the skin and nails thoroughly as soon as possible.

5. Remember that you don't have to contact the characteristic leaves to develop the rash; sap from any part of the plant will do quite nicely. Airborne particles from burning plants, or contact with roots or vines, have caused many unpleasant surprises. Dogs, clothing, fishing gear, tools, and the like may also be contaminated with the oleoresin.

6. Remember that exposure does not have to be extensive or pro­longed. A small amount of the sap on the skin for ten minutes will produce the rash.

7. Remember that usually about two days elapse before the rash appears. In some instances the eruption may begin in a matter of hours or after several days, however.


1. Think that poison ivy or oak is only a problem of warmer seasons. Handling of roots and vines in winter can readily cause the rash.

2. Think that you're immune to poison ivy just because you've never had it. Allergy to these plants, or any other chemicals, can develop at any age.

3. Be afraid of spreading the rash to other skin sites or other persons. If you have washed thoroughly, the oleoresin is gone and spreading can not occur.

4. Touch other areas, especially sensitive skin in the groin or around the eyes, if your hands may be contaminated by the plant juices.

5. Complicate matters by using medications that may themselves cause contact dermatitis.

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