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January 20, 2018

Greenfield poison ivy removal company owner does not use chemicals

News


Greenfield poison ivy removal company owner does not use chemicals

Thursday, July 3, 2014

By JESSIE SALISBURY

Correspondent

LYNDEBOROUGH – Poison ivy can be truly called a “noxious weed.” The urushiol oil contained in all parts of the trailing vine causes a painful rash and oozing blisters on most people who encounter it. The blisters and intense itching can last up to two weeks.

Poison ivy will grow almost anywhere in our region, under all kinds of conditions and it is not easy to eradicate.

Although there are chemical sprays that will kill it, the best way to remove it is to pull it out.

While some people take the risks involved and do that, most people hire someone else.

Helaine Hughes, owner of The Poison Ivy Removal Co. in Greenfield, is one of the few people in the state who does not use chemicals of any kind.

“I don’t like the idea that (chemicals) can get into the ground water,” she said during a recent visit to a homeowner with the problem. “And the dead plant material can infect you for three to five years. You can’t use the place you’ve sprayed. People I help can use the area right away.”

So she and her three employees get into hazmat suits and rip it out by hand.

“I wear the suit with boots attached,” she said, “wade in and sit down, or whatever we need to do. You just have to be careful not to touch your face. The girls do their hair up very well so there are no stray pieces.”

Hughes added, “Poison ivy and yellow jackets shouldn’t be allowed and I run into (the hornets) every once in a while.” Those she does spray.

While simply brushing against the leaves can cause the rash, “you can’t get it from another person,” she said. “The oozing blisters don’t have the urushiol oil.”

But you can get it from your pets – “it doesn’t affect them but the oil is on the tips of their hairs” – and from anything that has touched the vine, tools, shoes, clothes, etc.

Hughes said she does this kind of work “because I’m good at it.” She said she understood the need for protection because in earlier jobs she had worked in clean rooms and as a housekeeper in hospital infectious disease wards.

“In the 1970s, my dad brought home some pheasants and we had to remove the poison ivy to put up a fence. He called Dunstable, Mass., (where we lived) the poison ivy capital of the world.”

Poison ivy vines have horizontal roots, she said, and put down an anchor root every two or three feet, so even pulling it out might not get it all.

“There is a 15 percent grow back,” she said. “You can have us come back or manage that yourself.”

To do the job yourself, Hughes said, “wear long pants and long sleeves. Tape washable gloves to the sleeves and wear washable sneakers. Pull out the ivy and put it in bags. When you’re through, put everything (you are wearing) into the washer and take a shower. As long as you aren’t sweating or it isn’t raining, cotton clothes are fine.”

Do not burn the pulled vines. The urushiol oil stays in the smoke and breathing it can affect the esophagus and the lungs. Double bag the plants and take them to a landfill.

Hughes services are $100 an hour for a crew of two. If the ivy is in light shade, they can do a 10-by-30-foot area, but if it is in mowed grass, the hardest place to remove it, they might do only a 10-by-10 area.

Part of her service is to tell people what poison ivy is, and what it isn’t. Many plants have the three leaves that are the ivy’s main identifier.

Does it have thorns? It’s not poison ivy, probably blackberry.

Does it have alternate leaves, serrated leaves? Not ivy.

“People call me and I can tell them it’s not ivy, put a lot of people’s minds at ease. But I think, and so do some others, that poison ivy tries to look like other plants it is growing near,” she said.

Hughes has lived in Greenfield since 2003, previously living in Wilton. There are other companies who deal with the ivy, she said, some pull but also use sprays. “I’m the only one who just pulls.”

She added, “I love to do it, it’s fun. I get to talk to all these people. Every place (I go) is different. It’s amazing how little information there is out there about poison ivy. William Gillis wrote about the only book and he is trying to get the genetic codes, what insects eat it, is collecting seeds.”

Dr. William T. Gillis 1960 book, “Poison Ivy and Its Kin,” is available from Amazon.

Hughes said, “There is a lot to think about (when dealing with the ivy). You can’t see (the oil), can’t smell it, but any kind of soap will get rid of it.”

The Poison Ivy Removal Company can be reached at 547-6644, at poisonivyremoval
company@tellink.net, or online at
poisonivyremovalcompany.com.

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Greenfield poison ivy removal company owner does not use chemicals

Treating Poison Ivy: Ease the Itch With Tips From Dermatologists

SCHAUMBURG, IL–(Marketwired – Apr 8, 2014) – As summer approaches and the landscape turns greener, so too are the leaves from poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac. When the oil from these plants touches the skin, most people (about 85 percent) develop an itchy, blistering rash. Although the rash itself is not contagious, the oil can spread to other areas of the body and from person to person if not quickly washed off after touching the plants. Fortunately, there are simple steps people can take to safely treat the rash at home.

“If you are absolutely certain that your rash is due to poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac, and if the rash appears on a small section of your skin, you may be able to treat the rash at home,” said board-certified dermatologist Seemal R. Desai, MD, FAAD, who maintains a private practice in Plano, Texas and serves as clinical assistant professor of dermatology at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. “However, if you have difficulty breathing or swallowing, you experience swelling, or you have many rashes or blisters, go to the emergency room right away.”

If you are not experiencing a serious reaction, Dr. Desai recommends the following tips for treating the rash and easing the itch:

1. Immediately rinse your skin with lukewarm, soapy water. If you can rinse your skin immediately after touching poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac, you may be able to rinse off some of the oil. This helps ensure that the oil does not spread to other areas of the body and cause additional rashes.
2. Wash your clothing. Thoroughly wash all of the clothes you were wearing when you came into contact with the poisonous plant. The oil can stick to clothing, and if it touches your skin, it can cause another rash.
3. Wash everything that may have the oil on its surface. Besides clothing, the oil from poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac can stick to many surfaces, including gardening tools, golf clubs, leashes and even a pet’s fur. Be sure to rinse your pet’s fur, and wash tools and other objects with warm, soapy water.
4. Do not scratch, as scratching can cause an infection.
5. Leave blisters alone. If blisters open, do not remove the overlying skin, as the skin can protect the raw wound underneath and prevent infection.
6. Take short, lukewarm baths. To ease the itch, take short, lukewarm baths in a colloidal oatmeal preparation, which you can buy at your local drugstore. You can also draw a bath and add one cup of baking soda to the running water. Taking short, cool showers may also help.
7. Consider calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream. Apply calamine lotion to skin that itches. If you have a mild case, a hydrocortisone cream or lotion may also help.
8. Apply cool compresses to the itchy skin. You can make a cool compress by wetting a clean washcloth with cold water and wringing it out so that it does not drip. Then, apply the cool cloth to the itchy skin.
9. Consider taking antihistamine pills. These pills can help reduce itching, however use with caution. You should not apply a topical antihistamine to your skin, as doing so can worsen the rash and the itch.

“A rash from poison ivy, oak or sumac usually lasts one to three weeks,” said Dr. Desai. “If your rash is not improving after seven to 10 days, or you think your rash may be infected, see a board-certified dermatologist for treatment.”

The “Poison Ivy: How to Treat” video is posted to the American Academy of Dermatology’s (Academy) website and the Academy’s YouTube channel. This video is part of the Dermatology A to Z: Video Series, which offers relatable videos that demonstrate tips people can use to properly care for their skin, hair and nails. A new video in the series posts to the Academy’s website and YouTube channel each month.

Headquartered in Schaumburg, Ill., the American Academy of Dermatology (Academy), founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential, and most representative of all dermatologic associations. With a membership of more than 17,000 physicians worldwide, the Academy is committed to: advancing the diagnosis and medical, surgical and cosmetic treatment of the skin, hair and nails; advocating high standards in clinical practice, education, and research in dermatology; and supporting and enhancing patient care for a lifetime of healthier skin, hair and nails. For more information, contact the Academy at 1-888-462-DERM (3376) or www.aad.org. Follow the Academy on Facebook (American Academy of Dermatology) or Twitter (@AADskin).

To view this release in a media-rich version, go to: http://www.pwrnewmedia.com/2014/aad/poison_ivy/

Contact:

Jennifer Allyn

(847) 240-1730


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Nicole DiVito
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Treating Poison Ivy: Ease the Itch With Tips From Dermatologists

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