After reading, be sure to check out our online store for some products to help prevent, and treat contact with Poison Ivy!
What is Poison Ivy?
Poison Ivy is a three leaf plant or vine that grows throughout North America, mainly in disturbed ground. This three leaf plant carries an oil on its leaves and in its stems & roots called Urushiol (You-roo-she-all). It is poisonous in a way such that it inflicts an anaphylactic (allergic) reaction of redness, rashes, itchiness, and sensitivity on all contacted areas in 9 out of 10 people.
It is commonly found along the edges of your back yard, growing up trees and fences, along walkways and paths, and intertwined in shrubbery and flowers. Very rarely will you find it deep in the woods. It is virtually harmless to animals however they can be a carrier of the poisonous oils, as described later.
Poison Ivy sounds so bad, can I call it something else?
Sure you can, there are many different ways to say Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans). Though Poison Ivy is much easier to say that it's parenthetically written Botanical name, here are some other fun ways to say it and impress your friends and or family over a nice warm home cooked dinner. In German: giftiges Efeu, In French: Empoisonner le Lierre, In Spanish: Hiedra venenosa, In Italian: Avvelenare l'Edera, In Dutch: Vergiftig Klimop, In Portuguese: Envenene Hera, In Russian: Плющ Яда, In Norwegian: Forgift Eføy, In Chinese: 毒葛, and lastly in Japanese: ウルシ.
What does Poison Ivy look like so I know to avoid it?
Poison Ivy can come in many forms. Peak in it's season it might look like a small creeping weed, it could look like a vine climbing a tree, or even look like a small to medium sized shrub. Regardless of which form it takes, it will always have three pointed leaves all pointing in opposite directions when grown. Though sometimes the leaves will appear dry, usually they will look very glossy. The glossier they are the more poisonous oil there is present on the leaf. Even though the leaf may appear dry, be aware, there is still oil on the leaves and 90% of the time, you will get a rash every time! Poison Ivy may have little white or yellow "berries" attached to the vines. These are one form of the seeds, and are just as harmful to humans as the oil itself. Early spring you may see some small green or yellow flowers growing along vines. You guessed it! It's just another form of Poison Ivy. This is one of the beginning stages. During the winter months Poison Ivy plants, though bare of leaves still have the oils in the vines. They are not necessarily dead, just dormant. The most commonly spotted Poison Ivy plants during the winter are the vines attached to trees. They are defined from other dormant vines by their creepy "hairy" look.
How do I get Poison Ivy?
Poison Ivy is contracted both directly, and indirectly. It's obvious you can get it by touching the plant directly, however most people don't know that you can get poison ivy even if you haven't touched the plant. If something that touches the plant comes in contact with you (such as pets, stray animals, lawnmower wheels, garden hose, golf balls, baseballs, footballs, etc), the oils may still get transferred onto your skin or onto your clothing then later transferred onto your skin. Even with washing your clothes the oils can stay on your clothes for up to a year or more and give you another outbreak next time you wear them! My advice: If you get Poison Ivy, remember what clothes you have on, chalk it up as a loss, and throw them away. You shouldn't be gardening or mowing in Gucci or Dior anyways!
In the same respect, not everyone that comes in contact with Poison Ivy will develop a rash or show any signs of being affected. This does not mean you are immune to it, just that you are not affected by it right now. In no case should you go looking for Poison Ivy to test if you are, just wait, eventually everyone runs into it by accident. Which is the perfect time to call us so we can get rid of it for you!
How does Poison Ivy Grow in Different Places in My Yard?
Poison Ivy can spread itself by dropping it's own seeds from the berries produced during certain months. Also birds eat the "berries" and drop them out later which can basically root the Poison Ivy plant anywhere in your yard. Also, if you mow over a rooted plant, or pod of "berries" it can spread the spores across your neighborhood depending on wind and weather.
How can I get rid of Poison Ivy?
Call us! Let professionals get rid of it for you so as not to endanger yourself, your children, or anyone else in your household!
What should I NOT do to rid my yard of Poison Ivy?
Two ways absolutely NOT to try to rid your yard are:
1:Mowing and Weed Whacking. Mowing and weed whacking only get rid of it by sight. However it chops it up and sends the oil filled spores airborne. Not only sending seeds, stems, and oil throughout the rest of your yard expanding your problem, but sending seeds, stems and oils all over yourself, bystanders, and neighbors. If mowing with the bagger on, the oils will get transferred onto the inside of the bag, and then further transferred onto future clippings, further expanding your problem.
2: Burning. Burning Poison Ivy only maximizes your chances of a more severe possibly fatal reaction. When the plants are burned, the oils are absorbed into the smoke, and will then cover yourself, your clothing, and everything within a wind's gust. Once it is airborne it leaves the opportunity open for the smoke to be inhaled (breathed in) and could give you a reaction inside your mouth, nose, throat, lungs, etc or any one or combination of the like. If ever you believe you may have burned, or inhaled the smoke from Poison Ivy by accident, GO TO A DOCTOR'S OFFICE IMMEDIATELY!! Then when you get home, call us to solve your Poison Ivy problem and make sure you never have to go through that agony and vicious cycle of treatments again!
How do I know if I have been affected by Poison Ivy?
You will know. Usually the time frame for developing symptoms is from within minutes up to approx. 12 hours in some cases. You will develop an itchy sensation with a rash-like red or pink color on the affected area. Severe cases will be followed by bubbling skin on said area sometimes oozing with puss or sometimes yellowish water.
What can I do to relieve the affects of Poison Ivy?
There are quite a few different ways that have been tried to relieve the symptoms of Poison Ivy. Jewelweed in a popular home remedy. Crush the stems of the Jewelweed plant and rub the juice from it on the affected area(s). Another is to spray with an aerosol deodorant that contains aluminum. From the early days of gardening up to present times, various "metals" products have been and currently used to help treat lawn and turf diseases. Another is IvyX, it has been tried, tested, and proven itself. Lastly some say that it is well recommended that you take a hot shower as hot as you can stand it (within reason with care for your health and safety) to relieve the itching for as long as 8 hours. Others say that the hot water of the shower will open your pores, and absorb the oils that much quicker, so we'll leave your showering up to you. Severe cases must be seen be a doctor! There are several prescription remedies available that only doctors can give you which will make it go away much quicker.
How long will my symptoms last?
The symptoms of Poison Ivy will generally last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks depending on the severity of your exposure, and the method of which it was treated.
I've been affected, am I contagious?
Generally once you are affected, the oil is absorbed into your skin, and will not be released to spread the symptoms to other parts of your body, nor to other people. However, you will find some of the older generations that put their word on the line that when those blisters pop, it can spread the Poison Ivy to other parts of your body through contact with the fluid, even though it has been established that the majority of the blisters are filled mainly with water and not the oils of the Poison Ivy plant.