Sunday, August 30, 2009

Poison Ivy and what you need to know, when affected by it?

Poison Ivy is a plant that is to be seen through most 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 irritating blistering and irritation.It is in our interest 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 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 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 gives rise to berries that are an important foodstuff for a number of bird species.How to identify the symptoms and more about Urushiol oil.The patient will very quickly notice irritation in the skin, mixed with severe itching and inflammation in the infected area. The skin will become a different colour and a burning feeling will occur, and in a short span blisters will form along with the rash.Suffering can persist for many weeks or may be gone 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 many important factors 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 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 concern as it means the oil can stay on items it has been in contact with for as long as, and maybe longer than, a year. This gives us 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 necessary to cause suffering give it greater potency.Gloves and coats, and also boots, are among the commonest causes of Poison Ivy infection and should be cleaned thoroughly if contamination is suspected.How we can become infectedThere are many 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 come into contact with the oil is because of the instant reaction it promotes, and it is notable that direct contact with the plant is not vital to induce a reaction.If Poison Ivy is burned the smoke is full 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 must be avoided, therefore, and dogs kept away from Poison Ivy bushes.How to look after a sufferer of a Poison Ivy reactionIt is essential that treatment is started immediately, and the best method is to wash the problematic 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 problem more.It is essential to score the blisters, too, and to enable the area of infection exposure to the air. Keeping blisters bandaged is imperative in order not to allow infection.Remember that it is simply the oil that will allow the infection to spread, so contact with it should be refrained from.The condition will, in a while, clear up by itself, but there are treatments available for the irritation and for the worst reactions. It is the domain of the individual whether to wait for it to subside or to look for 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 ivy.If one knows of Poison Ivy the best advice one can give is the most obvious 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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