Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Poison Ivy and what to do when affected by it

Poison Ivy is a plant that prospers through the majority of of North America and is known in two main varieties â€" Western, or Pacific, and Atlantic. The importance with Poison Ivy, which grows as ground cover and can become large bushes, is that it contains an oil â€" Urushiol â€" that, when it comes into contact with our skin, causes very nasty blistering and irritation.It is imperative to understand that the oil occurs not just in the leaves but in many parts of the plant, including the root and the stem, and it is the immune system operating against the poison, as it seeps into the skin, that is the originator of the pain we feel.Why Poison Ivy is poisonousIt may seem pointless to us that at plant should be poisonous, but like the best living things Poison Ivy has its home in the ecosystem. The way it grows is a clue as it is used as shelter for lower growing plants and ground dwelling animals, and the majority of these are, unlike humans, not affected by the oil.Plus, Poison Ivy bears berries that are an important foodstuff for a number of bird species.How to know the symptoms and more about Urushiol oil.The patient will very quickly suffer from irritation in the skin, mixed with severe itching and inflammation in the troubled area. The skin will become darker and a burning sense will occur, and in a short span blisters will form along with the rash.Suffering can go on for many weeks or may be done with within days, and a particular case is different. It is suggested that cooling the skin is a good antidote and also prevents further infection.There are various important points that people need to be aware of about Urushiol oil, and the first is that it is very potent indeed. Research has displayed that a particle of the oil the size of a pin-head could be enough for 500 people, and as it is not a water based substance it will not evaporate.The latter problem presents a major difficulty as it means the oil can stick to on items it has been in contact with for as long as, and maybe longer than, a year. This presents the possibility of re-infection, or of an individual who has not been in contact with the plant being contaminated. Clothes, shoes, tools and pets can all contain the oil, and the miniscule amounts required to cause suffering give it greater potency.Gloves and coats, together with boots, are among the commonest causes of Poison Ivy infection and should be cleaned thoroughly if contamination is suspected.How anyone can become infectedThere are many ways that an individual can come into contact with the oil from Poison Ivy, and transfer from preciously contaminated clothing and other items is one way as we have already noted.The reason that we suffer when having encountered the oil is because of the necessary reaction it promotes, and it is notable that direct contact with the plant is not essential to induce a reaction.If Poison Ivy is burned the smoke is mixed with vaporised oil, and even coming into contact with this mixture can cause an attack. It has been said that a 100 year old item once affected a person, an indication of how dangerous the plant can be.Anything that has been in contact with the sap of the plant has to be avoided, therefore, and animals kept away from Poison Ivy bushes.How to help a sufferer of a Poison Ivy reactionIt is essential that treatment is initiated immediately, and the best method is to wash the affected area in warm water. A popular recommendation is to use a very powerful antimicrobial soap and to do all one can to stop the patient from scratching, as this will spread the infection beyond its boundaries.It is imperative to score the blisters, too, and to give the area of infection exposure to the air. Keeping blisters wrapped is necessary in order not to allow infection.Remember that it is solely the oil that will allow the infection to spread, so contact with it should be limited.The condition will, at some point, clear up completely, but there are treatments available for the irritation and for the worst reactions. It is the domain of the individual whether to suffer in silence or to invest in further help. Some lucky people are fortunate in that they have no sensitivity to Poison Ivy, but these are rare and most of us would be infected by coming into contact with the plant.If one knows of Poison Ivy the best advice one can give is the most logical â€" avoid it very carefully and don’t let your pet near it.--Nadeeka Johnson is an experienced article writer with over a 1,000 articles covering a wid variety of topical written at
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