Thursday, October 1, 2009

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

Poison Ivy is a plant that is to be seen through most of North America and is present in two main varieties â€" Western, or Pacific, and Atlantic. The concern 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 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 instigator of the pain we experience.Why Poison Ivy is poisonousIt may seem unusual to us that at plant should be poisonous, but like the best living things Poison Ivy has its position in the ecosystem. The way it grows is interesting as it gives 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 supplies berries that are an important foodstuff for a great number of bird species.How to see the symptoms and more about Urushiol oil.The patient will very quickly notice irritation in the skin, combined with severe itching and inflammation in the concerned area. The skin will become discoloured and a burning feeling will occur, and in a short span blisters will form along with the rash.Suffering can be endure 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 facts that people need to get to know about Urushiol oil, and the first is that it is very potent indeed. Research has displayed that a quantity 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 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 opens up the possibility of re-infection, or of a person who has not been in contact with the plant being affected. Clothes, shoes, tools and pets can all hold 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 common causes of Poison Ivy infection and should be disinfected 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 already infected clothing and other items is one reason as we have already noted.The reason that we suffer when having been contaminated by the oil is because of the natural 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 cause an attack. It has been said that a 100 year old item once affected a person, an indication of how much troube the plant can be.Anything that features the sap of the plant must be avoided, therefore, and animals kept away from Poison Ivy bushes.How to deal with a sufferer of a Poison Ivy reactionIt is important that treatment is initiated immediately, and the best method is to wash the problematic 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 imperative to crack the blisters, too, and to bring the area of infection exposure to the air. Keeping blisters bandaged is necessary in order not to add infection.Remember that it is solely the oil that will allow the infection to spread, so contact with it should be refrained from.The condition will, eventually, clear up completely, 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 few and far between 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 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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