Saturday, September 5, 2009

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




Poison Ivy is a plant that is widely found through all of North America and is present in two main varieties â€" Western, or Pacific, and Atlantic. The problem 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 unpleasant 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 feel.Why Poison Ivy is poisonousIt may seem odd 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 these 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 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 troubled area. The skin will become a different colour and a burning irritation will occur, and in a short while blisters will form along with the rash.Suffering can persist for many weeks or may be gone within days, and every 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 understand about Urushiol oil, and the first is that it is very potent indeed. Research has proven that a small amount 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 obstacle 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 gives us the possibility of re-infection, or of anyone who has not been in contact with the plant being contaminated. Clothes, shoes, tools and pets can all hold the oil, and the miniscule amounts required to cause suffering give it greater potency.Gloves and coats, along with boots, are among the most common causes of Poison Ivy infection and should be scrubbed thoroughly if contamination is suspected.How you 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 method 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 contaminated with vaporised oil, and even coming into contact with this mixture can cause an attack. It has been said that a 100 year old oil once affected a sufferer, an indication of how dangerous the plant can be.Anything that features the sap of the plant must be avoided, therefore, and dogs kept away from Poison Ivy bushes.How to help a sufferer of a Poison Ivy reactionIt is important that treatment is started immediately, and the best method is to wash the contaminated area in warm water. A popular 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 infection beyond its boundaries.It is imperative to score the blisters, too, and to bring the area of infection exposure to the air. Keeping blisters attended to is imperative in order not to add infection.Remember that it is just the oil that will invite the infection to spread, so contact with it should be treated with caution.The condition will, at some point, clear up completely, but there are treatments available for the irritation and for serious reactions. It is the domain of the individual whether to suffer in silence or to look for further help. Some individuals are fortunate in that they have no sensitivity to Poison Ivy, but these are few and far between and most of us would be infected by coming into contact with the bush.If one knows of Poison Ivy the best advice one can give is the most natural 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 www.allstop.com/poison-ivy/poison-ivy-treatmentSource: http://www.articletrader.com
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