Sunday, August 2, 2009

Poison Ivy and what to do when affected by it

Poison Ivy is a plant that prospers through all of North America and is available 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 nasty blistering and irritation.It is vital to understand that the oil occurs not just in the leaves but in every part of the plant, including the root and the stem, and it is the immune system pushing against the poison, as it seeps into the skin, that is the instigator of the pain we feel.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 position 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 them are, unlike humans, not affected by the oil.Plus, Poison Ivy supplies berries that are an important foodstuff for a number of bird species.How to see the symptoms and more about Urushiol oil.The patient will very quickly undergo irritation in the skin, mixed with severe itching and inflammation in the infected area. The skin will become discoloured and a burning feeling will occur, and in a short while blisters will form along with the rash.Suffering can go on for many weeks or may be gone 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 many important facts that people need to get to know about Urushiol oil, and the first is that it is very potent indeed. Research has indicated that a particle 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 stick to 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 anyone who has not been in contact with the plant being affliected. Clothes, shoes, tools and pets can all contain the oil, and the very small amounts necessary to cause suffering give it greater potency.Gloves and coats, along with boots, are among the most obvious causes of Poison Ivy infection and should be cleaned 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 already infected 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 imperative to induce a reaction.If Poison Ivy is burned the smoke is contaminated with vaporised oil, and even coming into contact with this concoction can promote an attack. It has been said that a 100 year old item once affected a sufferer, an indication of how troublesome the plant can be.Anything that has been in contact with the sap of the plant must be avoided, therefore, and cats 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 contaminated area in warm water. A second recommendation is to use a very potent 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 enable the area of infection exposure to the air. Keeping blisters attended to is imperative in order not to invite infection.Remember that it is simply the oil that will allow the infection to spread, so contact with it should be limited.The condition will, at some point, clear up naturally, but there are treatments available for the irritation and for serious reactions. It is the domain of the individual whether to let it die naturally or to invest in 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 bush.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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