Sunday, August 2, 2009

Poison Ivy and what it means to you when affected by it

Poison Ivy is a plant that prospers through the majority of of North America and is present in two main varieties â€" Western, or Pacific, and Atlantic. The importance with Poison Ivy, which grows as ground cover and can grow into large bushes, is that it contains an oil â€" Urushiol â€" that, when it comes into contact with our skin, causes very irritating blistering and irritation.It is in our interest to understand that the oil occurs not just in the leaves but in all of the plant, including the root and the stem, and it is the immune system reacting against the poison, as it seeps into the skin, that is the originator of the pain we experience.Why Poison Ivy is poisonousIt may seem unusual to us that at plant should be poisonous, but like many living things Poison Ivy has its part in the ecosystem. The way it grows is interesting as it is a source of shelter for lower growing plants and ground dwelling animals, and the majority of those are, unlike humans, not affected by the oil.Furthermore, Poison Ivy gives rise to berries that are an important foodstuff for a variety of bird species.How to identify the symptoms and more about Urushiol oil.The patient will very quickly suffer from irritation in the skin, combined with severe itching and inflammation in the concerned area. The skin will become darker and a burning sense will occur, and in a short while blisters will form along with the rash.Suffering can be endure for many weeks or may be done with within days, and an individual 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 indicated that a small amount of the oil the size of a pin-head could infect 500 people, and as it is not a water based substance it will not evaporate.The latter point presents a major difficulty as it means the oil can still be on on items it has been in contact with for as long as, and maybe longer than, a year. This opens up the possibility of re-infection, or of a person who has not been in contact with the plant being affliected. Clothes, shoes, tools and pets can all hold the oil, and the tiny amounts believed to cause suffering give it greater potency.Gloves and coats, along with boots, are among the commonest causes of Poison Ivy infection and should be scrubbed thoroughly if contamination is suspected.How you can become infectedThere are a variety of ways that an individual can come into contact with the oil from Poison Ivy, and transfer from affected clothing and other items is one method as we have already noted.The reason that we suffer when having been contaminated by 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 full with vaporised oil, and even coming into contact with this smog can promote an attack. It has been said that a 100 year old plant once affected a man, an indication of how troublesome the plant can be.Anything that features the sap of the plant must be avoided, therefore, and cats kept away from Poison Ivy bushes.How to look after a sufferer of a Poison Ivy reactionIt is important that treatment is started immediately, and the best method is to wash the affected area in warm water. A popular recommendation is to use a very well tried antimicrobial soap and to do all one can to stop the patient from scratching, as this will spread the trouble ever more.It is recommended to score the blisters, too, and to bring the area of infection exposure to the air. Keeping blisters wrapped is necessary in order not to invite infection.Remember that it is simply the oil that will invite the infection to spread, so contact with it should be refrained from.The condition will, in a while, clear up naturally, but there are treatments available for the irritation and for serious reactions. It is the choice of the individual whether to suffer in silence or to invite further help. Some lucky people are fortunate in that they have no sensitivity to Poison Ivy, but these are scarece and most of us would be infected by coming into contact with the plant.If one finds Poison Ivy the best advice we 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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