August 19, 2019

Poison ivy It's getting stronger and tougher

Mark Laliberte is used to getting poison ivy, but the reaction he suffered in July was the worst ever.

The 37-year-old Candia man was clearing brush on his property when he slipped into some bushes.

“I didn’t see it, but once I fell into it, I knew it was poison ivy. I ran inside and showered, but it was too late. It was all over my face and neck, particularly on my left side,” he said.

Beth Almon’s doctor told her she has the worst case of poison ivy she’s ever seen. After battling the itch for three weeks, Almon is now on her second batch of Prednisone, a drug used to treat severe allergic reactions.

“This year, for some odd reason I can’t get rid of it out of my system,” said Almon, 32, of Raymond.

The reason for the severe cases may have something to do with changes in the poison ivy plant caused by higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, experts say.

Poison ivy is thriving and becoming much more potent, according to Lewis H. Ziska, a research weed ecologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Ziska has studied the effects of carbon dioxide on plants and has found that it’s changing the chemistry of the urushiol oil in poison ivy, making it more toxic and more likely to cause a skin reaction.

His research looked at how plants react to more sunlight appearing in forests that have become fragmented, especially in urban areas. Ziska found that poison ivy flourishes, spreading faster and becoming more potent.

“Poison ivy tends to do better than most of the plant species we looked at. It’s able to take in the additional carbon dioxide and convert it into additional growth,” he said.

While she hasn’t seen more poison ivy sufferers than usual, Dr. Ellen Bernard of Epping Regional Health Center said there are treatments available to ease the itching and clear things up. Topical steroids can be used, but more severe cases may require an oral steroid.

Susan Chadwick, director of marketing at Derry Medical Center, said she takes steps to avoid poison ivy, but still ended up with a case in July.

“I’m very sensitive to it, so I try like the devil to avoid it,” said Chadwick, whose colleague also suffered a severe reaction this summer and ended up on Prednisone.


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Poison ivy It's getting stronger and tougher

LADY GARDENER: Garden pests have arrived with the heat

Along with summer heat, garden pests arrive on the scene. In the last month, readers have been reporting damage from squirrels and rabbits as well as deer. Other pests that affect all gardeners are weeds and insects.

It’s frustrating to see weeds and poison ivy growing in the garden. After hours of work, they seem to reappear overnight. Carefully caged vegetables invite numerous animals to dinner.

Poison ivy has been especially tiresome this summer. Growing among pachysandra, it’s difficult to see until it towers over the surrounding foliage. I found one large cluster in a grouping of astilbe.

I won’t touch the poison ivy even with gloves. Occasionally my husband will come to the rescue but he’s usually busy with other garden chores. Our 13-year-old grandson earns spending money by helping but he, like me, is allergic to the plant.

One remedy I have used in the past is to mix a gallon of poison ivy herbicide, according to label directions, and paint it on the leaves with a paintbrush. This keeps the chemical in check and protects surround plants.

I also have a few techniques to control insects. A few insects on a stem can be removed by hand or by simply snipping the branch. Keep chemical use to a minimum. Spray only the targeted area and do not spray surrounding healthy plants and shrubs.

We are fortunate to have a significant frog population that keeps our garden almost free of insects. They hop underfoot and scurry to avoid the lawn mower. Outside the backdoor, I’ve placed a shallow bowl of water that attracts the frogs; however, we have to open the screen door slowly as not to harm the one that sleeps on the step.

Nut Sedge reappears every summer. This is the third summer I have treated the lawn with a chemical product specifically for nut sedge. As with any chemical, read the printed material especially the Do Not Spray list that includes vegetables, ornamentals, and garden flowers. If you feel you must spray, use it only on the lawn, not in the flower beds. When in doubt, call a professional service.

When applying any chemical, wear long pants, sleeves, gloves, and mask. If any chemical spills on your clothing, wash the item separately.

The Master Garden Display Garden, on the former State Hospital grounds, is absolutely beautiful. Visit any day. The garden is free and open to the public. Each garden has an identification box containing information sheets.

Take your camera, pen and notepaper to jot down the name of any perennial, annual, or shrub on your must-have list. In the gazebo garden, look for the limelight hydrangea covered in lime-yellow flowers. Nearby deep red hibiscus plants are truly magnificent. The all-American Selections garden features reliable plants available in area garden centers.

The new summer bulb garden, in its infancy, will be a highlight next year; however, it’s a good example how bulbs should be spaced for future growth.

My new email address has not been working, and I apologize to readers who have not receive a reply. I will answer your questions as soon as possible.

Garden dos the next two weeks:

n Check for fungi especially mildew.

n Thin thick clumps of flowers by pinching a few back to allow air circulation.

n Check out plant sales at local garden centers.

Originally from: 

LADY GARDENER: Garden pests have arrived with the heat

Hoosiers protect themselves from Mother Nature’s dangers

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Hoosiers protect themselves from Mother Nature’s dangers

Poison Ivy An old enemy lies in wait for the unsuspecting

Poison ivy is out in full force, and will be hanging around until a hard frost sends it away.

“Every five years or so, I get poison ivy,” said gardening expert Margaret Hagen of the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension. “It usually takes me four to six weeks to get rid of it. It’s awful, so I try hard not to get it.”

Exposure to urushiol, an oil produced by the plant and found in its leaves and stems, causes an allergic reaction — the itchy rash. Some people have reactions so severe they need medical attention or even hospitalization.

There are three types of poison ivy common to the Granite State, according to Helaine Hughes, owner of The Poison Ivy Removal Company in Greenfield. There’s the Eastern climbing variety that can take over trees and power lines, Western ivy that grows like a shrub, and Rydberg’s, a creeping variety of poison ivy.

“The biggest problem that people have is they don’t know how to identify poison ivy,” Hughes said.

In the spring, the three-leaved plant is reddish-green and shiny. In the summer, it becomes a dull, matte green almost like poinsettia leaves, Hughes said. And in the fall, poison ivy takes on the quintessential fall colors, turning brilliant red, orange and gold.

Poison ivy thrives in the edges between two landscapes, according to Hagen. The space between a forest and a field, the border between a garden and a lawn, or banks of a riverbed on the side of the road are all prime locations.

“For some reason, poison ivy likes edges,” Hagen said.

The plant spreads through underground runners, said Hughes, but also with the help of birds who eat the seeds from poison ivy berries in the fall and drop them into stone walls or garden beds or into rivers, where they travel downstream and take root.

Getting rid of it

Getting rid of poison ivy is a chore, said Hagen, because the plant is hardy, will grow in just about any conditions, and is invasive. With a small infestation, she recommends going after the plant and its roots with loppers and applying weed and brush killer to the open cut on the stem. Larger patches can be fought back with some persistence and some Roundup or an organic acid-based herbicide — both of which come with drawbacks and controversy.

What Hughes does to remove poison ivy from her clients’ properties is to go after the plant at the roots. Dressed in Tyvek suits with thick rubber gloves taped at the wrist, and overshoes, Hughes and her all-female team seek out the poison ivy and follow it to where it began, yanking it out and depositing it in black plastic bags that will then be hauled to the dump.

Persistence is necessary because it can keep coming back if people aren’t watching for it.

“Poison ivy thrives when people aren’t paying attention,” said Hagen.

When it comes to disposing of poison ivy, the most important rule is to never, ever burn it, said Hagen. When burned, the oil from the plant becomes airborne and can be inhaled into the lungs, causing an internal case of poison ivy that could require hospitalization.

It’s also unwise to put poison ivy into a compost heap; anywhere it’s thrown, it can take root and grow anew. The best advice Hagen and Hughes offer is to bag it and bring it to the dump, being careful not to get the oil on the outside of the bag.

Precautionary measures

Hughes and her employees are all susceptible to poison ivy, so they use extreme measures to ensure the urushiol oil doesn’t contaminate their equipment, vehicles or skin.

After handling the ivy, Hughes and company carefully strip off their protective clothing and throw it away, and then scrub with Tecnu, a product that binds to the oil and prevents it from being absorbed into the skin.

“We follow the 15-minute rule,” said Hughes. “You’ve got to get the oil off of you in 15 minutes or less if you’re going to avoid getting the rash. And it’s less than that for people with sensitive skin.”

Using cold water, not hot, is best for washing the oil off the skin, said Dr. Christine Doherty of Balance Point Natural Medicine in Milford. Hot water can open the pores of the skin, allowing the oil to get in.

Another product that helps is Ivyblock, said Doherty. It creates a barrier and keeps the oil from being absorbed into the skin.

Anything that comes in contact with the oil should be washed immediately after exposure — including clothing, shoes, and especially pets, who can track the oil around the house. Unless it’s exposed to rain or some sort of solvent like rubbing alcohol, urushiol can hang around for years, Hughes said.


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Poison Ivy An old enemy lies in wait for the unsuspecting

Be aware of poison ivy when outdoors

WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – We’re starting to see poison ivy, poison sumac, and poison oak this spring. 22News is working for you on how to identify these plants, and the precautions you can take to save yourself a lot of pain.

These plants cause painful itching and swelling. Being able to identify these plants is key in avoiding them.

Poison ivy is easy to spot; it has three leaves that are distinctly glossy looking. It can be on the ground or wrap around a tree like a vine.
Poison oak and sumac are more shrub like.
The oils of these plants usually take time to penetrate the skin, so if you believe you had contact with these plants; experts say to wash your skin with soap and water.
Max Salvadore, a fisherman from Chicopee, told 22News that he expects running into poison ivy when he takes his kids outdoors, and said he has his own set of precautions.

“I bring my kids in the woods all the time, and when we get home we just take off all the clothes and put them right in the washer machine, hot water. And I don’t get poison ivy too much so it’s been a while since I’ve got it so my precautions must work,” said Max.

Severity and treatment for these poisonous plants depends on the individual, and you are advised to call your doctor if you have a bad reaction or rash.

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Be aware of poison ivy when outdoors

Sandler uncovers maid's poison ivy attack

Adam Sandler was recently horrified to discover his maid had been rubbing poison ivy all over his body as he slept as payback for having to handle the actor’s dirty underwear.

The Big Daddy star had no idea how he had contracted the itchy skin rash, and so he turned to his household security camera footage to ensure he wasn’t rummaging through his yard in his sleep.

And Sandler reveals he was shocked to discover who was responsible for all his discomfort.

He tells US TV host Jay Leno, “It was a horrific event. When you get that as a kid it makes sense, but a man my age, it doesn’t make too much sense because I don’t even go… in the woods… So I thought maybe I was sleep walking or something like that…

“The security camera in my house, I put it on me in my bed to see what I do, and a housekeeper kept coming in and rubbing poison ivy all over my body while I slept and I was like, ‘What the hell is going on? Why is this lady doing that to me?’ So I wake up in the morning, I said, ‘Hey, what’s the deal? It’s itchy, what you’re doing to me is wrong. I caught you. Why (did) you do that to me? I’m very nice to you.’

“She went to the laundry hamper and pulled out my underwear and (pointed to the stains) and she said, ‘That’s why’.”


Original source – 

Sandler uncovers maid's poison ivy attack

Goats Bring National Recognition to Reading Elementary School

The fifth-graders at Reading, Vt., Elementary School, all six of them, may be small in number. Yet in developing an eco-friendly solution to removing the poison ivy at their school, they’ve embodied the famous Margaret Mead quote that hangs in their classroom: that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.

That’s not to overlook the efforts of Sadie, Izzy and Happy, the three Boer goats who have consumed the poison ivy leaves on the school playground. But Abigail Merseal, Hayley Mullins, Kit Oney, Nevaeh Sullivan, Nick Bishop and Sam Mitchell evaluated the cost-efficiency and environmental impact of each plan, came up with the idea of using goats, and approached the principal and the Reading School Board for permission to let goats graze on the school grounds.

Not only have the goats gone a long way in eradicating the poison ivy problem, but the fifth-graders’ eco-conscious project contributed to Reading Elementary being named a Green Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. Collins’ class travels to Burlington today to be recognized by Gov. Peter Shumlin as a recipient of the Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence. And the class is currently raising the $4,000 needed for a trip to Washington, D.C., to be recognized with all 64 schools nationwide that received the Green Ribbon designation, awarded to schools that adopt energy efficient and environmentally savvy practices.

Besides the addition of the goats to the school’s ecosystem, Reading has a school garden where vegetables are raised for the cafeteria and food scraps are composted, and the school’s third- and fourth-grade class built a covered bridge over a stream that connects the school to a nearby woodlands area, used for environmental education.

The Green Ribbon designation has given a boost in morale to the small elementary school, which in the past has been targeted for closure.

“It not only validates the importance of the school in our community, it validates the importance of having children in a community school,” said Principal Lou Lafasciano, known as “Dr. Lou” around the school. “That community spirit is alive and well. That’s the kind of school everybody wants their child in.”

The poison ivy problem on the Reading Elementary playground could have been improved with a chemical solution, but that was not a road the fifth-graders wanted to take. “This was a wetland,” said fifth-grader Kit Oney. “And if we put chemicals in there, it would have killed a lot of animals.”

Instead, the students considered several different eradication methods that would not be harmful to the land and creatures around the school, or the students and faculty who spend their days there. They ruled out covering the poison ivy with black plastic, and pouring a vinegar and soapy water solutions and boiling water over the weed. A Google search for “cute ways to eradicate poison ivy” yielded information about using goats, who have special enzymes that allow them to safely eat the plant.

They were further encouraged when Dr. Lou told them that he’d heard on Vermont Public Radio of how Stephen Brooks, the cemetery commissioner in Charlotte, Vt., was deploying goats to ameliorate the poison ivy in the town’s cemeteries. The students took it upon themselves to call Brooks and gather information about implementing a similar program.

Finding a group of goats was no trouble . Malisa Williams, the sister of the third- and fourth-grade teacher at Reading, raises goats, but needed to let her land recover from their grazing for a few months. “She was willing to let her goats go for six weeks in the fall,” said fifth-grader Abigail Merseal. So Sadie, Izzy and Happy found new homes at the Reading Elementary playground, penned in by an electric fence, and with all the poison ivy they could want.

More difficult was compiling their research for a presentation to the Reading School Board, in order to secure permission to bring the goats to the school. They had to figure out what possible arguments board members might raise, and come up with alternate plans in case any part of their proposal was rejected. “It was — how should I put this …” Sam Mitchell began.

“Nervewracking,” Nick Bishop interjected.

“Good one,” Sam continued. “We were nervous, but we did a good job.” At present, the goats have consumed one-and-a-half acres of poison ivy on the school grounds, and the students have received a grant for $907 from the Woodstock Union High School Foundation to purchase supplies like a goat shelter to keep the goats at the school.

And, if the class manages to raise $4,000 in the coming weeks, they’ll travel to the White House with the other Green Ribbon School recipients; about $3,500 has been raised thus far

“A little class is going to Washington, D.C.,” said fifth-grader Nevaeh Sullivan. “If we were at some other school, this probably would never happen.”

To make that trip happen, though, the class is once again looking to the community to lend a hand. To donate, visit www.razoo.com/story/Green-Goat-5th-Graders-Go-To-Washington.


Susannah Howard, a sophomore at Thetford Academy, was accepted to MedQuest 2013, a program at Lyndon State College that exposes students to health care career options through job shadowing and training in medical procedures like CPR. MedQuest 2013 will be held from July 14 to 19.

∎ Yuzhou “Oscar” Lin, a student at Thetford Academy, was named one of nine statewide winners in the Vermont State Mathematics Coalition’s 20th annual Talent Search. Lin was honored with fellow recipients at a dinner in South Burlington last month and is invited to attend the Governor’s Institute in Mathematical Sciences this summer at no charge.


Kelsey L. Jordan of Lebanon graduated from Northeastern University with a bachelor’s degree in biology, magna cum laude.

School Notes appears most Tuesdays. Email news and announcements to schoolnotes@vnews.com.

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Goats Bring National Recognition to Reading Elementary School

What's Going Around

Physician Assistant Dan Moore at McLaren Greater Lansing Internal Medicine in Lansing is treating poison ivy this week.

Symptoms include:
–Itchy, red, raised rash that appears in lines or streaks
–Blisters that break open and ooze clear fluid
–Localized swelling
–Feeling of warmth at the exposed area

Most poison ivy cases can be treated at home.

It’s a common misconception that poison ivy is contagious. The rash itself isn’t contagious, but the spreading of the plant oil is. That’s why it’s important to wash the irritant off the skin as soon as possible with soap and hot water. Clothes should also be washed.

Take an oral antihistamine and apply topical hydrocortisone cream and calamine lotion. Cool compresses can help, too.

See a doctor if there’s swelling around the face, mouth, neck or eyes. You should also see a doctor if the rash is infected, or appears all over your body.

Moore is also seeing patients with allergies.

Symptoms include:
–Runny nose
–Watery eyes
–Itchy eyes and nose
–Dark circles under the eyes

Avoid allergens by staying indoors on dry, windy days. Use eye drops and cool compresses, and take antihistamines.

If you have asthma, stick to your prescribed treatment regimen.

Allergies can lead to sinus infections.

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What's Going Around

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