A Natural Approach To Health
Living With Poison Ivy
I had a question the other day about poison ivy.
Poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac are plants that can cause a skin rash when they touch your skin.
The red, uncomfortable, and itchy rash often shows up in lines or streaks and is marked by fluid-filled bumps (blisters) or large raised areas (hives).
It’s the most common skin problem caused by contact with plants.
The rash is caused by contact with an oil (urushiol) found in poison ivy, oak, or sumac.
The oil is present in all parts of the plants, including the leaves, stems, flowers, berries and roots.
Urushiol is an allergen, so the rash is actually an allergic reaction to the oil in these plants.
Indirect contact with urushiol can also cause the rash.
This can happen when you touch clothing, pet fur, sports gear, gardening tools, or other things that have come in contact with one of these plants.
Urushiol doesn’t cause a rash on everyone who gets it on their skin.
The usual symptoms of the rash are:
>Itchy skin where the plant touched your skin.
>Red streaks or general redness where the plant brushed against your skin.
>Small bumps or larger raised areas.
>Blisters filled with fluid that may leak out.
The rash usually appears 8-48 hours after contact with the urushiol.
But it can occur from 5 hours to 15 days after touching the plant.
The rash usually takes more than a week to show up the first time you get urushiol on your skin.
But the rash develops much more quickly (within 1-2 days) after later contacts.
The rash continues to develop in new areas over several days but only on parts of your skin that had contact with the urushiol.
The rash isn’t contagious.
You can’t catch or spread a rash after it appears, even if you touch it or the blister fluid, because the urushiol will already be absorbed or washed off the skin.
The rash may seem to be spreading.
But either it’s still developing from earlier contact or you’ve touched something that still has urushiol on it.
The more urushiol you come in contact with, the more severe your skin reaction.
Severe reactions to smaller amounts of urushiol also may occur in people who are highly sensitive to urushiol.
Serious symptoms may include:
>Swelling of the face, mouth, neck, genitals, or eyelids (which may prevent the eyes from opening).
>Widespread, large blisters that ooze large amounts of fluid.
Without treatment, the rash usually lasts about 10 days to 3 weeks.
But in people who are very sensitive to urushiol, the rash may take up to 6 weeks to heal.
To deal with poison ivy it’s beneficial to:
*Drink 6-8 cups of purified water daily.
*Consider Calming Complex, Enfuselle skin care line.
*Consider Calendula, Calamine lotion, aloe vera (fresh gel from plant is best), Tea Tree Oil, Epsom salt bath, baking soda paste.
*Investigate complimentary alternatives (homeopathy, herbs, hydrotherapy, etc.).
*Generous amounts of vitamin C (antihistamine properties) may be taken to relieve pain, itching, inflammation and counter the effect of toxins.
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