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October 18, 2018

Archives for July 2013

Treating common summer health issues

Families rarely get through a summer without some sort of malady like a sprained ankle, bad sunburn or poison ivy rash.

Dealing with these summer-related health issues can be as simple as grabbing a tube of Benadryl cream, or as involved as driving to an emergency room.

Mark Kauffman, D.O., a family physician and professor of family medicine at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, discussed when you can treat these injuries or illnesses at home, and when you need to call your doctor or visit the ER.

1. Severe sunburn

As long as the skin stays intact, you can treat bad sunburns at home with aloe vera, cold compresses and over-the-counter pain medication like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, Kauffman said.

It’s when larger blisters (an inch or larger in diameter) develop, or when blisters cover an extensive area of skin, that you need to seek medical care.

“When the top pops off those blisters, the skin underneath is prone to infection,” Kauffman said. “You need antibiotic ointments, so you should see your primary care physician.”

2. Twisted ankle

The pain from an injured ankle can be intense, whether you sprained it, tore ligaments or broke it.

If the injury causes you to walk with a limp, Kauffman recommended that you see your doctor or visit an urgent-care center.

“You usually won’t get an x-ray, but you might need crutches, and those require a prescription from a physician,” Kauffman said.

3. Bug bite, poison ivy/poison oak

We’re not talking about a common mosquito bite, but something larger that causes the skin to redden and swell.

If the reaction is localized, then it can be treated at home with Benadryl to stop the itching, Kauffman said.

“Look for spreading redness and swelling after 24 hours,” Kauffman said. “That could be an infection, which is more serious, and you would need to see your doctor.”

Treat a poison ivy/poison oak rash in similar way. Use Benadryl unless the rash covers more than 10 percent of the body, or you have inhaled smoke from burning poison ivy/poison oak.

“You can’t treat inhaled poison ivy at home. You need to see your doctor,” Kauffman said.

4. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke

These are two of the most serious summer-related health issues, especially heat stroke, when the body no longer is able to regulate its body temperature. It can be life-threatening.

If you are outside and start to feel fatigued, lightheaded and nauseous, get somewhere cool, Kauffman said. Drink water, and use ice packs or wet compresses to cool off.

“It’s when you stop sweating and start acting confused that heat stroke becomes a possibility,” Kauffman said. “If you see someone like this, you need to get them medical treatment right away. Call 911.”

5. Food poisoning

The chances of food poisoning increase in the summer because of all of the backyard barbecues and picnics.

Meats, cut fruits and foods made with dairy products are left in the heat too long and can be contaminated with bacteria that cause gastrointestinal illness.

“If you experience vomiting and diarrhea, and can’t keep fluids down, call your doctor if it lasts more than two or three hours,” Kauffman said. “You don’t want to get dehydrated. If it’s a child, I wouldn’t even wait that long.”

DAVID BRUCE can be reached at 870-1736 or by e-mail. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/ETNbruce.

Originally from:

Treating common summer health issues

Neahring: Hazards of poison ivy

I like summertime. Even though I haven’t been a student for several decades, I still think of summer as break time, a chance to kick back, enjoy the sunshine and relax a little. If it wasn’t for that pesky part-time job and full-time motherhood thing, I could really do some serious lounging.

Spending time outdoors in the warm weather is a great way to unwind, but a person has to beware of dangerous flora and fauna lurking around. Actually, aside from a few disgruntled groundhogs, the fauna in our yard isn’t all that deadly, but the flora is potentially fraught with peril. I don’t mean large, carnivorous shrubbery that devours people, (although I saw that once in a science fiction movie, and I believe it could totally happen), but the more insidious, itchy kind of danger you get from plants like poison ivy.

Poison ivy, whose scientific name is Toxico radicans, has been around for a long time. It was first discovered and named in America by Captain John Smith, the famous 17th century explorer and friend of Pocahontas. Poison ivy and its equally treacherous cousins, poison oak and poison sumac, are found throughout most of the United States and cause an itchy rash following contact. Most people are susceptible to poison ivy, although about 15 percent of the population is not sensitive to the effects of the plant and does not get a rash.

The rash of poison ivy is caused by the plant oil urushiol, found in all parts of the plant including leaves, stem, and roots. Your child may develop symptoms through direct contact with the oils on the plant itself, or by touching a contaminated object such as clothes or shoes. The plant oils can remain on objects and retain potency for many years. Pets can carry the plant oils on their fur, although they do not get the rash. Burning poison ivy releases the oils into the air, and the particles may travel airborne to the skin or be inhaled. Touching another person with poison ivy does not typically transmit the rash, since the plant oils are quickly absorbed into human skin on initial contact.

The poison ivy rash is red and itchy, often with blisters in a straight line. The reaction may not appear for several hours to days after exposure to the plant oil. The rash is not contagious, but can be spread from place to place on a child by residual plant oil under his fingernails when he scratches.

If your child has been exposed to poison ivy, wash the area with warm soapy water as soon as possible to remove the plant oils before they are absorbed into the skin. Water that is too hot may open the pores, allowing for increased absorption. Apply a cool compress or an ice cube to relieve itching and swelling. Oatmeal-based bath products and lotions (like Aveeno) and oral antihistamines (Benadryl) can be helpful for symptoms as well.

Calamine lotion, a combination of zinc oxide and iron oxide, has been used to treat the itch of poison ivy since the 19th century, but it can be quite drying for some children with sensitive skin. Over-the-counter 1 percent hydrocortisone cream can be used in mild cases, and your doctor can order a stronger prescription steroid cream or ointment if necessary.

While most cases of poison ivy go away on their own within two weeks, you should call your doctor if your child’s rash is particularly extensive, extreme or appears infected. Significant lesions on the face, especially around the eyes, may warrant a visit as well. Your doctor may prescribe oral steroids (or occasionally, a steroid injection) to relieve inflammation. Topical or oral antibiotics are indicated for a rash that has become infected, usually through repeated scratching.

An individual’s sensitivity to poison ivy can change from season to season, so even a highly susceptible person may become less responsive to the plant oils over time. In the interim, it might be best to stay away from foliage with leaves of three and avoid any shrubbery with a shady attitude.

From:  

Neahring: Hazards of poison ivy

Video: Poison parsnip: Worse than poison ivy

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Video: Poison parsnip: Worse than poison ivy

Poison ivy spreading in Chesapeake neighborhood

by Joe Flanagan, 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on July 12, 2013 at 5:16 PM

Updated
Friday, Jul 12 at 6:01 PM

CHESAPEAKE — Paul Pompier caught a bad case of poison ivy in his West Chester Estates neighborhood in Chesapeake.

When he began to investigate, he found it everywhere.

Horticulturalists at Norfolk Botanical Garden told us the plants thrive on green gases, and the rainy weather has contributed this year too.

“Well, there’s a spot there, and then I came on out to the road and it’s growing out along the road,” Pompier said as he walked around his neighborhood.

The poisonous plant was everywhere around his home.

“It’s actually a clump of poison ivy growing out into the road. So, if you were to drop something, pick it up or even get it on your shoes, you get that poison oil on your shoes and don’t even know it. You can transfer it to your skin,” Pompier said.

Pompier repeated a saying to help remember which plants are poison ivy:Leaves of three, let it be.”

“And so, anything that comes in contact with the poison ivy that’s on the leaves, that poison oil it can get on you. It can get on your clothes, it can get on your sports equipment, and it will stay there for a long, long time,” added Pompier.

A light went on for Pompier’s neighbor went he showed her how bad the poison ivy was near her home.

“I am not originally from this area, and I had no idea that the poison ivy was that bad,” said Phoebe Morrow.

Link – 

Poison ivy spreading in Chesapeake neighborhood

Poison Parsnip: Toxic And Invasive

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Poison Parsnip: Toxic And Invasive

Poison Parsnip

Poison Parsnip plants are toxic and invasive. They are also growing wild across the nation. The weeds are native to Asia and Europe. However, they are now common in nearly every US state.

Wild parsnip plants are usually found in areas where other common weeds thrive, including backyards. They are an invasive species that can spread rapidly and wipe out other plant species in the area. Even worse, the plant oils can cause health concerns.

As reported by The Poison Garden, poison parsnip can cause a blistering skin rash, similar to those caused by poison ivy. However, the rash produced by wild parsnip is usually more severe. The symptoms generally disappear after a few weeks, but may discolor the skin for months.

The plants share their name with edible parsnips, which are grown for food. Unlike the edible variety, wild parsnips should be avoided.

Wild parsnip plants can rapidly spread, taking over yards and flower beds. However, they can be eliminated from the yard through diligent care. As reported by FDL Reporter, the poison parsnips can be eliminated with herbicide application in the fall or spring.

Those who wish to avoid chemicals can keep the weeds cut at ground level or mowed. Gloves should always be worn when handling the plants to avoid an adverse reaction.

As discussed by the Vermont Department of Health, wild parsnips are green plants that produce tiny yellow flowers. They are similar in appearance to Queen Anne’s Lace.

They are closely related to carrots, and produce similar sized roots. The flowers do not appear until their second year of growth. Mature plants can reach up to four feet in height.

The health department suggests thoroughly washing with soap and water if skin comes into contact with the plants. As sunlight may trigger a reaction, avoiding sunlight for 48 hours may decrease the risk. If blisters form a doctor should be contacted.

Poison Parsnip

Clothes that come into contact with the plants should also be thoroughly washed as the oils may linger.

Poison parsnip can be toxic and is certainly invasive. However, with care, they can be avoided and eliminated, reducing the risks.

[Image via Wikimedia]


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Excerpt from – 

Poison Parsnip: Toxic And Invasive

Pointers for preventing, treating poison ivy

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Itching to know more about poison ivy? It’s the most common allergy with two out of three people being allergic to it.

For most of us, the rash occurs after we’ve been exposed to poison ivy at least once before in our lives.

Bruce Chladny of K-State Extension in Wyandotte County reminds us that the old adage, “Leaves of three, let it be,” definitely holds true.

“Not to confuse it with the five leaves of Virginia creeper. When you look at the plant, there’s three leaflets and that means it’s not good to touch,” says Chladny.

The rash ia an allergic reaction to the oil in the plant.

“So when the oil comes from the plant onto your skin, it gets into your skin and your body has that allergic reaction. It could either be through exposure as you walk through the garden…could be from touching a tool or some sort of machinery or something like that that had been in an infested areas.  Or off of pets,” says Chladny.

If you think you’ve been exposed to poison ivy, use soap and cold water quickly to remove the oil from the skin. Chladny says it’s important to use cold water because it keeps the pores of the skin closed.

You can’t get poison ivy from another person’s blister fluid. But Chladny says if there’s residual oil on someone’s skin and you touch that, you could get a rash.

To show you how powerful the oil is, five hundred people could itch just from the oil covering the head of a pin.

So how do you treat poison ivy? An over-the counter corticosteroid cream, calamine lotion, a cool bath with oatmeal or cool wet compresses. You may also want to try an antihistimine such as Benedryl to help you sleep.

See your doctor if the rash is widespread or on your face, if the blisters are oozing badly, or if the rash isn’t better after a few weeks.

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Pointers for preventing, treating poison ivy

Beware of Poison Ivy

ACROSS WNY- A hike in the outdoors is a peaceful and beautiful experience, but it always pays to know your surroundings. There are a lot of things in the environment that can cause harm if one is not careful,and many of these organisms are hiding in plain sight, so awareness is key.

Poison Ivy is a perfect example. Dave McQuay of NY State Parks says the plant is abundant throughout the region, and learning to identify it is a must for anyone spending time outdoors.” They always say leaves of three let it be, and often Poison Ivy takes on different forms, it can be a small plant, it can be shrub like, or it can vine up trees.If it vines up, you want to look for the hairy roots going to the bark, usually brown in color.”

Coming in contact with the plant is not fun. Damaging the leaves or stem releases an oily compound called Urishiol which can cause a serious rash on those who are allergic to it. ” The oil leaches out of the leaves” says McQuay ” and absorbs through the seven layers of your skin, your body reacts to that,and it actually causes inflammation and your body produces a rash if you’re allergic to.”

Native to North America,the plant has been thriving for centuries. Throughout the years, Poison Ivy has been both bane and benefit to different cultures. McQuay explains.” One of the first infections a European got in North America was Captain James Cook coming down with a case of Poison Ivy. Native Americans used it, they had different ways to develop immunity,they would use the flexible vines to make baskets, in California they would smoke salmon with the skewers made from Poison Ivy.”

As nasty as it can be to the human species, McQuay says the exact opposite is true with many animals. ” Over sixty species of birds ingest the berries, Black Bears, White Tail Deer, rabbits and muskrat love to eat the seeds . Woodpeckers, warblers and thrushes relish the berries, so it is used by wildlife.”

Poison Ivy also is beneficial to the environment in other ways, so eradication is not feasible. Unfortunately, studies have found that due in part to climate change, the toxic oil that can cause so much damage is also becoming more potent. ” With the increased levels of carbons in the air, the Poison Ivy is becoming five percent stronger in Urishiol oil, which will cause the rash. McQuay continues ” Poison Ivy is definitely getting stronger as our environment changes and warms.”

All of this information is not meant to terrify, only to educate. As with much of our environment, knowledge goes far to keep from turning a hike in the woods to trip to the hospital. ” Learn to identify it, learn to avoid it like you would a poisonous snake, it shouldn’t stop you from going out there and enjoying the great outdoors, and be aware on sunny edges and stream banks and things it can grow there, and that’s a spot you really want to watch for it.”

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Beware of Poison Ivy

Being outdoors great, but poison ivy isn’t

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Being outdoors great, but poison ivy isn’t

Veterinarian says dogs immune to poison ivy

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Veterinarian says dogs immune to poison ivy

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