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May 20, 2018

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.

jschreiber@newstote.com

Original link:

Poison ivy It's getting stronger and tougher

Recent Weather Trends Making Poison Ivy Worse

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July 30, 2013

The wet summer is causing several weeds and vines to grow more quickly than normal, including poison ivy. And research suggests that climate change may be making the plants bigger and more toxic.

The Cogill family, from Charlottesville, was enjoying a nice walk on the Monticello Trail on Tuesday, when 9-year-old Ada saw some poison ivy and warned her brother.

“Sid was about to walk right through it,” Ada said. “So I pointed it out to him, ‘Sid there’s a patch of poison ivy that you’re about to walk through!'”

Ada’s had it before, so she knows why it is important to avoid.

“I hate being itchy like that,” Ada said. “And having to scratch it because it’s too itchy.”

Charlottesville’s trails planner, Chris Gensic, is noticing it more.

“It’s been a really good year for plants to grow,” Gensic said. “So we’re seeing the poison ivy growing a little faster than it normally does.”

At times, the poison ivy is right near the walking trail. Gensic pointed to several examples in Quarry Park and Riverview Park. Gensic says park officials focus on clearing it from trails and baseball fields, but they can’t get rid of all of it.

“There’s also whole areas where it could be in there and we’re not just going to chemical bomb the whole area,” Gensic said.

Scientists say climate change could be making it worse. A study from the National Academy of Sciences says poison ivy especially feasts on rising carbon dioxide, making it grow faster and more toxic.

“Best thing you can do is know what the plant is and avoid it,” Gensic said.

Ada’s 5-year-old brother, Sid, knows some rhymes that can help out with that.

“Leaves of three, let them be,” Sid said. “Hairy vine, no friend of mine.”

The plant is distinguished by its shiny leaves in a pattern of three, and a red, hairy vine that it uses to scale trees.

But it can also come in contact with humans through other ways, like pets.

“I definitely do see it this year a lot more,” said Sammy Swale, who runs Sammy’s Dogwalking Service in Charlottesville. He has to be careful that the pets don’t take the toxic poison ivy oils back to their owners.

“Dogs brushing up against it, playing in it, running in it, and just walking through it,” Swale said. “Then you put your hands and arms on it of course because the dog rubs up against you.”

Swale keeps the dogs away from trails to avoid coming into contact with poison ivy. He also protects himself by always wearing long pants.

“It’s very painful, and I don’t want it on my legs,” Swale said.

Read this article: 

Recent Weather Trends Making Poison Ivy Worse

Goats sink their teeth into poison ivy problem

SANDY HOOK, N.J. — From the Spanish-American War through World War II, Fort Hancock’s massive mortar battery defended New York Harbor from foreign invasion.

Now the battery itself needs defending – from a proliferation of poison ivy that’s slowly destroying the overgrown historic site.

On Tuesday, the cavalry arrived, in the form of 11 Nubian goats from Upstate New York that happen to regard poison ivy and other pernicious plants as lip-smacking delicacies.

“It’s a smorgasbord,” said their owner, Larry Cihanek, of Rhinebeck, N.Y., as he watched his charges contentedly munching their way up a densely wooded trail marked “Keep Out, Hazardous Area.” In less than an hour, the path looked noticeably wider.

“They’re doing all the dirty work,” said Betsy Barrett, president of the nonprofit Sandy Hook Foundation, which is funding the goats-in-residence project through the end of the year, at a cost of about $12,000.

Barrett said the clearing work is a necessary first step toward making the site, located across from the lighthouse at the northern end of Sandy Hook, more accessible to the public, with an eye toward someday restoring the battery and the adjacent cave-like ammunition “pits,” which were converted into a secret coastal defense command center during World War II.

Over the years, the 6-acre site has evolved into a kind of Jurassic Park for poison ivy, or Toxicodendron radicans, which has run wild with destructive consequences. Indeed, the plants are so large and pervasive, no landscaper will touch the job with a 10-foot telescoping pole saw.

“This should have been named Poison Ivy National Monument,” said Tom Hoffman, park ranger historian at the Gateway National Recreation Area. “It loves it here. It just spreads itself through this loose, sandy soil.”

Cihanek, a 68-year-old retired advertising executive-turned-goat farmer, has forged a successful second career renting out his 60 or so goats to clear brush at city and federal parks and other public areas.

While part of his herd is settling in at Sandy Hook, he has other goats working at two sites on Staten Island, at Freshkills Park, a converted landfill owned by New York City, and Fort Wadsworth, which is maintained by the National Park Service. Cihanek’s goats also have been used at the Vanderbilt Estate in Hyde Park, N.Y. and Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

“I’ll be at 11 different locations this year,” said Cihanek, who runs the farm with his wife, Ann.

In 2008, several of the goats at Fort Wadsworth escaped through an 8-inch opening in the fence and wandered into a high-security area under the Verrazano Bridge. Somehow, they accomplished the feat without triggering an alarm that was supposed to thwart a terrorist attack. The New York Daily News dubbed the goats “weapons of grass destruction.”

Cihanek has since upgraded the type of fencing he uses. At the mortar battery site, he has installed an electrified fence that he hopes will keep the goats inside and the public out. People shouldn’t try to pet the goats, he says, because the goats will be covered with the toxic oil from the poison ivy plants, which spreads on contact.

Fortunately, Cihanek himself is among the estimated 15 percent of the population that isn’t allergic to poison ivy.

Can the goats really do the job?

Monmouth County Agricultural Agent Bill Sciarappa said herbicides such as Roundup are an inexpensive and effective way to permanently kill poison ivy, but many people today are leery about using them in backyards and public places.

While goats will quickly gobble up poison ivy, he said, they don’t eat the roots, which allows the plants to grow back. Using goats over an extended period, however, will eventually starve the plant of the energy it needs to survive, he said.

“So a persistent program of goats should work,” Sciarappa said.

The 11 goats that arrived Tuesday are the vanguard of a herd that will total about two dozen goats by the end of the week, Cihanek said.

To see them tear into a stand of poison ivy, one would think the plant’s waxy leaves were as delectable as a fresh mescalin salad, tossed with feta cheese and a drizzle of vinaigrette.

Cihanek said the goats are just as enthusiastic about maple leaves, knotweed, and virtually anything with thorns.

The mortar battery job, however, may be the goats’ biggest challenge yet.

“This hill has the densest concentration of poison ivy of any place I’ve ever been,” Cihanek marveled.

Copyright 2013
USATODAY.com

Read the original story: Goats sink their teeth into poison ivy problem

Read this article:

Goats sink their teeth into poison ivy problem

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

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.”

See the original article here: 

Beware of Poison Ivy

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