Friday, October 2, 2009

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

Poison Ivy is a plant that is widely found through most of North America and is available 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 all 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 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 position 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 those are, unlike humans, not affected by the oil.Plus, Poison Ivy bears berries that are an important foodstuff for a great number of bird species.How to know 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 troubled area. The skin will become a different colour and a burning irritation will occur, and in a short period 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 points 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 quantity 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 mentioned presents a major concern 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 gives us the possibility of re-infection, or of an individual 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 believed to cause suffering give it greater potency.Gloves and coats, as well as boots, are among the most common causes of Poison Ivy infection and should be cleaned 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 affected 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 full with vaporised oil, and even coming into contact with this smog can cause an attack. It has been said that a 100 year old plant once affected a sufferer, an indication of how much troube 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 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 problem more.It is essential to score the blisters, too, and to bring the area of infection exposure to the air. Keeping blisters wrapped is vital in order not to invite infection.Remember that it is just the oil that will encourage the infection to spread, so contact with it should be treated with caution.The condition will, eventually, clear up naturally, but there are treatments available for the irritation and for the worst reactions. It is the choice of the individual whether to let it die naturally or to look for further help. Some individuals 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 plant.If one knows of Poison Ivy the best advice one 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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