Anyone who spends time outside needs to understand a little about the nature of poison ivy and what to do if you or a loved one becomes infected. Knowing how to recognize the plant, the basic symptoms, and how to treat the condition can make a big difference. Here are a few facts that you should have at your fingertips.
Poison ivy grows wild in a number of places around North America. The plant may appear as a shrub or a vine that runs up a tree or creeps along the forest floor. Generally, the leaves are smooth-edged, although some varieties of poison ivy do have notched leaves. The important to remember is that in spite of the difference in the shape of the leaves, all forms of the poison ivy plant grow leaves in groups of three.
This is contracted by coming in contact with the sap that collects on the leaves. When this oily sap comes in contact with human skin, the possibility of contracting poison ivy is very likely. Keep in mind the physical contact has to be plant to skin. It is not possible to catch it from clothing or brushing your hand across the coat of a pet.
Another set of poison ivy facts to keep in mind is the symptoms of the condition. Often, the first sign is a red rash that gets larger and redder with time. Next, itching will develop, along with the possibility of a fever. Finally, the rash may erupt into blisters that can be painful and become infected when they burst. If at all possible, begin treatments as soon as the first symptoms appear.
Last, understanding how to treat poison ivy is very important. Treatments range from over the counter products to herbal remedies to prescription medications, depending on the severity of the condition. When it comes to the facts, the most important one to keep in mind is that getting the right treatment will make all the difference in the amount of pain and suffering you have to face.