YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) -Poison ivy can be hard to spot, and the itch is hard get rid of. Do you know how to spot it? And what’s the best way to treat it?
Botanist Rich Gardener with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources says the old adage “Leaves of three let it be” holds true for keeping clear of poison ivy, but the leaves don’t always look the same.
Poison ivy can be a vine or a shrub. The oil that is produced by the plant is what causes the reaction on skin and it can found anywhere on the plant – root, leaf or stem.
“You can run into poison ivy in about any type of habitat. It’s referred habitat is right along the edge of the woods where it gets sunlight, but also has trees to climb up, but it also can occur in fields,” Gardener said.
The “Leaves of three let it be” is a great trick for poison ivy, but it won’t help when it comes to identifying poison sumac, which can also leave you with a nice rash.
The poison sumac plant has seven to 13 leaves.
Anyone coming into contact with poison ivy or poison sumac should wash hands and clothing to avoid spreading it to other parts of the body or someone else.
The rash that develops is not contagious, but oil that has not been washed off can be transferred to someone else.
If not washed away properly, the contaminated person or object can still cause a skin reaction years later.
“Some of us have a little bit more resistance to it, and could have a little rash and it goes away. Typically, it takes one to three weeks for it to go away. So, you have a long period of dealing with it,” Gardener said.
A poison ivy rash can be treated with a cool washcloth, over the counter anti itch cream or prescription steroids, for the worse cases.
Poison ivy and sumac are not the only poisonous plant to watch for. The Centers for Disease Control offers a complete list and preventative measure to avoid coming in contact with the plants.