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October 17, 2018

About Tonight: February 12, 2015

MetroATFeb12.jpg
Photo by Beau Finley.

FILM: Gather your change and loose bills and pay what you want to see HITS, “a dark comedy about fame in YouTube America.” West End Cinema (2301 M Street NW) 7-10 p.m. RSVP here.

MORE FILM: Watch VHS recordings of the made for television teen comedies The B.R.A.T. Patrol, starring Sean Astin, and Poison Ivy, starring Michael J. Fox. Comet Ping Pong (5037 Connecticut Avenue NW) 7-11 p.m. Free

MUSIC: The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, D.C. presents “Love Rocks!” a performance of your favorite pop and rock love songs from Freddie Mercury, Melissa Etheridge, Adele, U2, The Beatles, and more. New York Avenue Presbyterian Church (1313 New York Avenue NW) 8 p.m. $39

CAKE: Pops by Haley, the company specializing in cake push pops (not to be confused with cake pops), leads a push pop making workshop. West Elm (1728 14th Street NW) 6:30-8 p.m. $30

MAIL: This month’s edition of the Mail Social Club will have you creating embroidered valentines. To improve your experience, the Mail Social Club now serves beer and wine. Byrne Loft at the National Postal Museum (2 Massachusetts Avenue NE) 5 p.m. $11.50

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About Tonight: February 12, 2015

Angie's List Report: Identifying Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac

(WDEF) Homeowner Shirley Branham loves tending to her yard and garden, but she can’t seem to escape the itchy wrath of poison ivy.

She said, “I usually just noticed one or two little dots which eventually unfortunately then spread all the way up my arm or on my legs.”

The key to avoiding a rash like Shirley’s is knowing how to spot these poisonous plants.

Poison ivy grows in all areas of the continental U-S.

Poison oak is most common on the West Coast, but it’s also found in Southeastern states.

And poison sumac grows in swampy areas of the Southeast.

Emily Wood works as a horticulturist. She said, “Poison oak and poison ivy look fairly similar, but poison sumac has much more leaflets, more leaves on the leaflet.”

Birds often feed on the berries of these plants and consequently spread the seeds, so look for the plants in areas where birds hang out – on or under trees or near fences.

Angie’s List researchers found many lawn care companies won’t go near these plants, but there are some that do specialize in removal.

Angie Hicks of Angie’s List said, “During the hiring process be sure to cover how the company is going to tackle the problem. Are they going to use chemicals to remove the plants? Are they going to dig the plants up? How long do they guarantee their work? Will they come back if the plant reappears? Also, don’t forget these plants like to spread so if the plant is in your neighbor’s yard you want to understand that problem as well.”

You may be able to tackle smaller plants on your own, but be sure to wear protective clothing and know how to properly dispose.

Wood added, “Most of the time it’s probably best to put it in a plastic bag and throw it away, but keep in mind, that anything that touches it will carry the oil and you can get the contact dermatitis from the oil.”

You should never burn these plants or use a weed eater or lawn mower to get rid of them – you’ll just distribute the oil.

Excerpt from: 

Angie's List Report: Identifying Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac

Angie's List: Removing Poison Ivy, Sumac or Oak Plants

A weekend spent working in the yard can turn into an itchy, uncomfortable nightmare — if you don’t steer clear of poisonous plants.

Homeowner Shirley Branham loves tending to her yard and garden. But she can’t seem to escape the itchy wrath of poison ivy. Every summer for the past ten years — she’s suffered through a horrible rash.

“I usually just noticed one or two little dots which eventually unfortunately then spread all the way up my arm or on my legs,” says Branham)

The key to avoiding a rash like Shirley’s — knowing how to spot these poisonous plants. Poison ivy grows in all areas of the continental US.

Poison oak is most common on the West Coast, but it’s also found in southeastern states. And poison sumac grows in swampy areas of the Southeast.

Horticulturist Emily Wood says, “Poison oak and poison ivy look fairly similar, but poison sumac has much more leaflets, more leaves on the leaflet.”

Birds often feed on the berries of these plants and consequently spread the seeds. So look for the plants in areas where birds hang out — on or under trees or near fences. The plants can grow to great lengths — so you may need help to get rid of them. Angie’s List researchers found many lawn care companies won’t go near these plants, but there are some that do specialize in removal.

Angie Hicks, from Angie’s List, says “During the hiring process be sure to cover how the company is going to tackle the problem. Are they going to use chemicals to remove the plants? Are they going to dig the plants up? How long do they guarantee their work? Will they come back if the plant reappears? Also, don’t forget these plants like to spread so if the plant is in your neighbor’s yard you want to understand that problem as well.”

You may be able to tackle smaller plants on your own, but be sure to wear protective clothing and know how to properly dispose.

“Most of the time it’s probably best to put it in a plastic bag and throw it away, but keep in mind, that anything that touches it will carry the oil and you can get the contact dermatitis from the oil,” says Wood.

All parts of these plants produce urushiol — the oil that causes the rash. It can stay on clothing and garden tools for up to five years. You should never burn these plants or use a weed eater or lawnmower to get rid of them — you’ll just distribute the oil.

Original article:  

Angie's List: Removing Poison Ivy, Sumac or Oak Plants

Don't Get Fooled by Poison Ivy

If you think you know what poison ivy looks like, think again. Poison ivy can take the form of a vine, shrub or ground cover. It has leaves that are shiny and leaves that are dull. Its edges can be smoothed or notched.

So how can it be recognized and avoided? The old phrase “leaves of three,” let it be” is a good way to do it, says Lou Paradise, president and chief of research of Topical BioMedics, Inc., makers of Topricin. And if the berries are white, we should “take flight.” That’s true whether you’re hiking in the woods or spending some time in your yard.

Poison ivy tops the list of plants to avoid, Paradise says, because it contains urushiol, an oily resin that binds to the skin on contact and may result in itching, burning skin eruptions. This rash-causing poison ivy sap is a clear liquid found in the plant’s leaves and the roots.

Urushiol oil is extremely potent, and only one nanogram (billionth of a gram) is needed to cause a rash, Paradise says. Even if you’ve never broken out you cannot assume you are immune; in fact, the more often you are exposed to urushiol, the more likely it is that you will break out. About 90% of the population develops an allergy to it.

What’s more, urushiol oil remains active for several years, so even handling dead leaves or vines can cause a reaction. In addition, oil transferred from the plant to other objects—gardening tools or an article of clothing—can cause the rash when it comes in contact with human skin.

(It’s also possible to get poison ivy from your pet. The primary danger to the pets themselves is ingesting the plant; if that happens, go to a vet immediately or call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control line at 888-426-4435. Luckily, pets can’t “get” poison ivy, according to the company Pet Veterinary Insurance, because their coats are usually too long for the oil to reach their skin.To be on the safe side, Paradise says, bathe your dog or cat after exposure. Use thick rubber gloves, not latex.)

To prevent poison ivy, Paradise recommends that when going on a hike or walking through a wooded area, you minimize the possibility of exposure by wearing long pants, a shirt with long sleeves, booths and gloves. The same is true if you’re cutting down trees or mowing or removing brush. If you stay at a campsite, give it a once-over so you’re aware of any hazards. Look around any campsite.

Prior to any outdoor activity, it can also help to apply a cream or lotion that creates a barrier on the skin.

If you get poison ivy, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) suggests that you:

Rinse your skin with lukewarm, soapy water – ideally, immediately after touching.

Wash your clothing, even down to your bootlaces, Paradise says, and use bleach if possible. The oil can stick to clothing, and if that touches your skin, can cause another rash.

Wash everything that may have the oil on its surface. Besides clothing, Paradise and the AAD say, the oil can stick to gardening tools, golf clubs and leashes. Wash with warm, soapy water.

Do not scratch, the AAD says. Scratching can cause an infection.

Leave blisters alone. If they open, don’t remove the overlying skin, because that skin can protect the wound beneath.

Take short, lukewarm baths in a colloidal oatmeal preparation that you can buy at a drugstore. You can also add a cup of baking soda to a bath. Short, cool showers can help as well.

Consider applying calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream. But talk to your doctor before applying an antihistamine cream, because that can actually worsen the rash.

Poison ivy can’t always be handled with self-care, though. Paradise says that symptoms requiring immediate medical attention include trouble breathing or swallowing; many rashes/blisters or a rash that covers most of the body; a rash on the genitals; swelling, especially of the eyelid.

For more information, visit topricin.com and the American Academy of Dermatology, aad.org.

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Don't Get Fooled by Poison Ivy

Pretty Poison Now in Season: Poison Ivy Survival Tips From Topical BioMedics, Inc.

Topricin Pain Relief and Healing Cream formulas applied to exposed skin before going outside forms a barrier of protection from poison ivy’s urushiol, an oily resin many people are allergic to

It’s a particularly strong year for poison ivy, so it’s important for everyone to be aware there are ways to prevent outbreaks, or safely treat rashes.

Rhinebeck, NY (PRWEB) June 18, 2014

Summer is kicking into gear, and poison ivy is lush and plentiful. A master of disguise, it can take the form of a vine, shrub or ground cover, has leaves that are shiny or dull, with the edges smooth or notched. So how can it be recognized for the pretty poison it is? The phrase “Leaves of three, let it be” is a good rule of thumb, and if there are white berries, we should heed the advice to “take flight.” Whether hiking in the woods, gardening, or playing in the yard, it’s important to be aware of any plant with three leaflets.

Poison ivy tops the list of plants to avoid because it contains urushiol, an oily resin that binds to the skin on contact and may result in a hypersensitivity reaction characterized by itching, burning skin eruptions. This rash-causing poison ivy sap is a clear liquid found in the plant’s leaves and the roots.

Urushiol oil is extremely potent, and only one nanogram (billionth of a gram) is needed to cause a rash. Even if you’ve never broken out you cannot assume you are immune as the more often you are exposed to urushiol, the more likely it is that you will break out. In fact, upwards of 90% of the population develops an allergy to it.

Although poison ivy is now in full season, it is potent year round, and urushiol oil remains active for several years, so even handling dead leaves or vines can cause a reaction. In addition, oil transferred from the plant to other objects—such as gardening tools, an article of clothing, or even a pet—can cause the rash when it comes in contact with human skin. If poison ivy is eaten, the mucus lining of the mouth and digestive tract can be damaged. And if poison ivy is burned and the smoke inhaled, a rash may appear in the lining of the lungs, causing extreme pain and respiratory difficulty that may become life-threatening.

Most people develop a rash after coming in contact with the plant. After the oil has touched the skin it takes about 12 to 36 hours for redness and swelling to appear, followed by blisters and itching. Contrary to popular belief, scratching or oozing blister fluid cannot spread the outbreak or transfer it to other people. New lesions that appear a few days after a breakout of primary lesions means that there was less oil deposited on that area of the skin, or that the skin was less sensitive to it.

WINNING THE BATTLE AGAINST POISON IVY

Lou Paradise, president and chief of research of Topical BioMedics, Inc., makers of Topricin, says, “It’s a particularly strong year for poison ivy, so it’s important for everyone to be aware there are ways to prevent outbreaks, or safely treat rashes and minimize the discomfort and duration should they occur.”

You and your family can have a more enjoyable summer by following these tips for avoiding outbreaks of poison ivy, along with these helpful treatments for soothing and healing rashes if you do succumb.

Prevention:

  • Avoiding contact with the plant is, of course, the best prevention. Go on an expedition, wearing long pants, a shirt with long sleeves, boots, and gloves to minimize exposure. Tour your yard, the playground, a campsite you’re visiting, and any other outdoor areas you frequent. When you spot poison ivy, show it to your kids and instruct them to stay away from it. If you have a large amount growing in your yard, consult with a professional landscaper for removal. (Unless you are a professional, do not “weed whack” as it sprays the poison ivy—and hence the oil—right at you.).
  • Wear pants, long sleeve shirts, and gloves so less skin is exposed when you are working or playing where poison ivy may be present, such as when hiking, cutting down trees in the woods, mowing brush, etc. It is recommended that you wear plastic gloves over cotton gloves because urushiol can eventually soak through cotton gloves.
  • Prior to any outdoor activity, apply odorless, greaseless Topricin Pain Relief and Healing cream to any exposed areas of your body, including face, neck, hands, arms, etc. This will form a protective barrier that makes it more difficult for the urushiol oil to bond with your skin. Topricin contains natural medicines that also antidote and neutralize the adverse affect of urushiol oil. As an added plus, Topricin is the gardener’s favorite for relieving all the aches and pains of doing yard work.
  • Urushiol oil is extremely stable and will stay potent for years–which means you can get a rash from clothing or tools that got oil on them many seasons ago. After exposure to poison ivy, put on gloves and wipe everything you had with you and on you with rubbing alcohol and water, including shoes, tools, and clothing. Then wash clothes at least twice before wearing (if possible using bleach), hose off garden tools well, and apply leather moisturizer on footwear to prevent them from drying out (again, put on gloves). Change your shoe/boot laces once exposed to poison ivy.
  • Pets seem to be immune from getting poison ivy, but many people do get a rash from the residual urushiol oil on their fur. Therefore it’s a good idea to bath our dog or cat wearing thick rubber gloves (not latex). After washing the pet, wash yourself using cold water to keep pores closed. Consult with your veterinarian if you have any questions.

Treatment

  • Urushiol binds to skin proteins and begins to penetrate within 15 minutes of contact. If treated before that time, a reaction may be prevented. First, wash exposed site with cold water (hot water will open your pores, allowing the oil in). Follow this by bathing it in milk, which helps to get between the oil and the skin. Dry off well and then apply Topricin, which will help neutralize the effect of any remaining urushiol oil left on your skin.
  • Scrub under your nails. You can spread poison ivy to other parts of your body by having the oil on your fingers.
  • Wherever poison ivy grows, there is usually a plant known as jewelweed growing close by—especially in moister, shadier areas. Herbalists and Native Americans have used jewelweed for centuries to treat and speed the healing of poison ivy as it seems to be a natural remedy. When you are in the field and may have been exposed to poison ivy, pick jewelweed, slice the stem, and rub its juice on your skin to ease irritation and help prevent a breakout.
  • Some companies and herbalists offer poison ivy treatment soaps that contain jewelweed and other soothing natural ingredients, such as pine tar. Soaps are available from Poison Ivy Soap Company, Burt’s Bees, or search online for sources.
  • Take homeopathic Rhus Tox 30X tablets to help build immunity to poison ivy.
  • For severe outbreaks, or if you have any concerns whatsoever, see your doctor right away.

SYMPTOMS REQUIRING IMMEDIATE MEDICAL ATTENTION

If you experience any of the following symptoms, go to the emergency room right away:

–Trouble breathing or swallowing

–Many rashes/blisters or a rash that covers most of your body

–A rash that develops anywhere on your face of genitals

–Swelling, especially if an eyelid swells shut

About Topical BioMedics, Inc.

20 years in business and a Certified B Corporation, Topical BioMedics is a research and development leader in topical patented natural biomedicines for pain relief. The company’s flagship product, Topricin® Pain Relief and Healing Cream, was introduced in 1994 and is now a leading natural therapeutic brand. A combination biomedicine formula, Topricin has been awarded a patent for the treatment of pain associated with fibromyalgia and neuropathy, and was listed among the Top 100 Green Products of 2012 by Healthy Holistic Living.

The Topricin family of natural healing products also includes Topricin Foot Therapy Cream, specially formulated to treat painful foot and ankle issues and conditions, and Topricin for Children, which received the Parent Tested Parent Approved Seal of Approval (with 5% of sales donated to pediatric cancer foundations). Made in the U.S.A., all Topricin products are federally-regulated over-the-counter medicines with no known side effects, no parabens, petroleum, or other harsh chemicals, no grease, and no odor.

Topricin is available in independent pharmacies, natural food and co-op stores nationwide, including Whole Foods, Sprouts, Pharmaca, The Vitamin Shoppe, Fred Meyer, Wegmans, CVS (Foot Care Section), Walgreens (Diabetic Section), and other fine retailers, as well as directly from the company.

For more information visit http://www.topricin.com.

SOURCES:

Topical BioMedics, Inc.

WebMD

Mayo Clinic

Discovery Health

American Academy of Dermatology

About.com

Wiki How

UGA Center for Urban Agriculture

Indiana Department of Natural Resources


See original article:  

Pretty Poison Now in Season: Poison Ivy Survival Tips From Topical BioMedics, Inc.

Focus 2014 Part 2: An itch to innovate sparked Tec Labs

Evelyn Smith of Corvallis had two things in 1962 that helped to change the world: small children and a yard full of poison oak.

The wife of chemist Robert Smith, a former executive with Mead Johnson, Evelyn was tired of the two youngest of her five children coming in from the yard and developing itchy rashes. So she went out one day and, barehanded, yanked up each plant.

She cleaned up with a waterless skin cleanser originally meant to remove the radioactive dust from nuclear fallout. It had been sitting around the house since Robert had invented it. Afterward, she told a neighbor about her efforts.

The neighbor wanted to know: Did the poison oak affect her, too?

Actually, Evelyn said, it hadn’t. Later, she told her husband about the yardwork and mentioned the cleanser.

According to Tec Labs lore, Robert initially brushed off the whole incident as a case of “puny” poison oak, not nearly as potent as the plants in their native Iowa. To prove it, he rubbed a patch on his arm.

Gary Burris, Tec Labs’ director of public relations, doesn’t have on record whether Robert ended up saying anything along the lines of, “I’m sorry, dear, you were right.”

But his arm did break out in a rash. And he did test the cleanser on a new patch of skin.

And that’s how Tec Labs’ signature product, Tecnu, was born.

Robert found the product kept the oil in both poison oak and poison ivy from bonding with skin, which meant it not only kept the rash from spreading, but could keep it from forming in the first place.

Out of the garage

Over the next nearly four decades, Tecnu helped Tec Laboratories grow from its home in the Smith garage in Corvallis to a 58,000-square-foot building in Albany. It now employs 35 people full time; more during the summer season.

The pharmaceutical manufacturer now has six products under the flagship Tecnu brand, and another three under its increasingly popular LiceFreee line.

Burris estimates Tec Labs has sold some 53.3 million units of its various products since 1977, and can find its products in more than 47,000 stores. Chief Executive Officer Steve Smith — Robert’s son and brother of Vernon Smith, the company’s vice president of operations — is proud to note at least one Tec Labs product is on the shelf of every chain drug store in the United States.

Steve Smith is careful about giving away any plans for future products, but the company is always on the lookout for new ideas.

Anytime Tec Labs hears from a customer who’s pleased with one of its products, Steve said, “We’ll ask, ‘What other problems do you have?’ We’ll see if there’s an opportunity there. Sometimes there is, sometimes there isn’t.”

Burris said every employee who goes to a conference or a trade show is asked to come back with a list of 10 ideas, maybe about something impressive they saw, or maybe about a perceived gap in possible service.

Regulatory Affairs Director Wendy Langley is one of those employees, although her idea came from first-hand experience.

In the late 1990s, Langley was among moms struggling with the bane of elementary school classrooms everywhere: head lice.

Available products at that time were runny, smelled like bug spray and didn’t even work, as far as Langley was concerned. “I thought there just had to be another way.”

Research took her to a folk remedy centered on sodium chloride: table salt. She worked to formulate the salt into a gel that would hold its place on a child’s head, a concoction that became LiceFreee.

The product immediately took off, but Langley didn’t stop thinking about ways to improve. A spray-on solution would be even easier to use, she thought, and might even work more effectively.

“And I tried it in the lab, and it did, and I thought, cool,” she remembered. Three years ago, LiceFreee hit the market.

Poison oak is a North American peeve, Steve Smith said, but lice is a problem worldwide. That’s part of the reason he’s working on taking Tec Labs solutions to an international level.

Burris said Tec Labs builds its whole culture on looking at the big picture, both for the care of its customers and its employees.

“The one thing we do is look at problems that are driving everyone crazy, that we can solve better than anyone else has,” he said. “We’re looking at symptom-driven ailments. If we can solve it better, for a good price, it really is amazing to people.”

It all goes back to Evelyn, he said: “If it wasn’t for a mom trying to protect her kids, we wouldn’t be here today.”

Contact Jennifer Moody at jennifer.moody@lee.net.

Visit source:

Focus 2014 Part 2: An itch to innovate sparked Tec Labs

NEW BUSINESS: The Goatscaping Company

A poison ivy bed. Sumac that makes your skin bristle just thinking about it. Throw in a few rocks, some uneven terrain and a hillock, and you can just forget about that lawnmower.

Clearing this piece of land is going to take heavier artillery.

Or maybe “hoovier” artillery.

This is a job for super goats.

Elaine Philbrick and Jim Cormier don’t have to boldly go where no one has gone before; they let their goats do that.

Their herds of goats gobble up poison ivy, oak and sumac without a single blister, chow down on thorns and heavy vegetation in thickets covering rocks and rocky ledges that defy mowers. Hilly terrain and rocks are, in fact, the goats’ joy in life.

They love to climb – anything.

And they love to eat, just about anything.

Located in Plymouth and Duxbury, this goat company is drawing rave reviews and more and more customers who have discovered an alternative for taming an unwieldy parcel.

The Goatscaping Company had humble beginnings, for Jim Cormier at least, who remembered his 2011 volunteer gig at Colchester Neighborhood Farm. A Plymouth resident, Cormier lost his job with a Fall River book company and his friends, Ron and Conni Maribett, needed help on the farm they managed in Plympton. With nothing much else to do, Cormier headed over one day and filled in, cleaning up after the animals, weeding and helping with the harvest.
“I knew nothing about animals and farms,” Cormier said. “I grew up in Hyannis.So, if someone says ‘farm,’ to me, I think cranberries.”

The months went by, and Cormier found a job at Lowe’s, all the while continuing his work at the farm, which had become a joy for him. He loved the animals in particular, and jumped when Elaine Philbrick, a member of the cooperative farm, contacted him about a goat business.

Philbrick, who owned four goats, told Cormier she planned to rent them to a Cohasset business that wanted a difficult parcel of land cleared.

“Count me in,” Cormier responded.

And from that moment on, he has been up to his eyeballs in goats, contracts for goats and a whole lot of fur.

“If you told me 10 years ago that I would co-own and run a goat business, I would have said you were out of your mind,” Cormier said. “I went to school for broadcasting and film, anticipating a job as a program direction. Never in a million years did I anticipate this. It’s just a weird confluence of things.”

Spend an hour with Cormier and his herd and you might be surprised by how friendly and engaging these creatures can be. They only have bottom teeth and do not bite. But, they do love to be scratched and fussed over, and spend a lot of time playing when there’s no brush to devour.

The Goatscaping Company now has dozens upon dozens of goats happily chewing up brush and clearing inhospitable areas that have plagued landowners for years. In addition to avoiding a nasty rash or worse, customers also find this approach environmentally friendly, since it involves no chemicals and no machinery.

For more information on The Goatscaping Company, visit www.gogreengoat.comor www.facebook.com/goatscaping. To schedule a goat-clearing job, contact the company at gogreengoat@gmail.com or 617-283-4088.

Follow Emily Clark on Twitter @emilyOCM.

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NEW BUSINESS: The Goatscaping Company

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.

nfoster@newstote.com

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Poison Ivy An old enemy lies in wait for the unsuspecting

Homeopathic Pain Medicine Contains Poison

Homeopathic remedy Rhus toxicodendron, derived...

Homeopathic remedy Rhus toxicodendron, derived from poison ivy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At my local mega-grocery store last weekend, I happened to stroll down the aisle dedicated to homeopathic treatments. I saw shelf after shelf of brightly colored packages, all claiming health benefits. Most of these “medicines” were not cheap.

Amazing. To an average shopper, all of these products look like real medicine. The packaging is similar, the claims are similar, and it’s all on display at a respectable grocery store. The difference, though, is that none of these products do what they claim to do. Thanks to a special exception for homeopathy created all the way back in 1938, none of the claims on these medicines need to be tested. The homeopathy aisle is an organized, state-sanctioned scam.

The 1938 law was the brain child of a U.S. senator, Royal Copeland, who happened to be a homeopath. Sen. Copeland inserted language into a major food and drug law that declared homeopathic preparations to be drugs. It also allowed homeopaths themselves to maintain the official list of these drugs, called the Homeopathic Pharmacopeia. Talk about the fox guarding the henhouse! Thanks to aggressive lobbying by homeopaths, homeopathic ingredients are not subject to the normal review required of real drugs. Most importantly, homeopathic drug makers do not have to prove their products are effective.

Homeopathy is based on the long-discredited beliefs of Samuel Hahnemann 200 years ago. Hahnemann thought that “like cures like,” as long as you dilute the substance sufficiently. Thus caffeine will cure sleeplessness, poison ivy extract will cure an itch, and paralyzing plant toxins will cure pain. None of this is true.

The other key principle of homeopathy is that the more you dilute something, the stronger its effect. This is not only wrong, but it is exactly the opposite of what really happens. Greater dosage levels, unsurprisingly, have stronger effects. In Hahnemann’s defense, science wasn’t very far along when he came up with these notions.

Real medicine moved on long ago. But homeopathy persists, because there is money to be made – lots of money.

Back to my grocery store. Several shelves were filled with something called Topricin(R), which claims to relieve pain. Sounds like a medicine, right? Real drugs often use “cin” or “in” in their names because the word “medicine” itself ends with that sound. Clever! In front of me I saw Topricin for pain, Topricin foot cream, even Topricin for children. The Topricin packages and the company’s website proclaim, in big letters, “Ideal Pain Relief”, and in slightly less big letters: “Safe. Effective. Free of Side Effects.” It also claims:

“Topricin’s 11 homeopathic medicines are proven to be safe and effective for the elderly, pregnant, children, pregnant women and all skin types. Experience Topricin’s relief for damaged muscle, tendon, ligament, and nerve tissue.”

This is simply not true. It even seems to go beyond the bounds of what the (very weak) FDA regulations allow. The website specifically claims that Topricin is effective for arthritis, back pain, bruises, bursitis, fibromyalgia, minor burns, tendinitis, and more.

Well, what is it? Let’s look at just two of the homeopathic ingredients in Topricin:

  • Belladonna 6X…………….. Treats muscles spasms, night leg cramps
  • Heloderma 8X…………….. Relief of burning pain in the hands and feet
Old Belladonna remedy, homeopathic.

Old Belladonna remedy, homeopathic. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Belladonna for pain? Belladonna is one of the most toxic plants known to man. Eating just a few small berries is lethal. And the one study I could find showed that it has no clinical effect when used in a homeopathic preparation. That’s lucky for unwitting consumers: if it wasn’t so diluted, Belladonna would make them very sick indeed.

Heloderma? That’s the venom from a gila monster. Although rarely fatal, it causes severe pain, bleeding, nausea, and vomiting. This is not something I would take for pain – and I certainly would never give it to children.

I know that Big Pharma is often guilty of deceptive marketing, and I’ve criticized Pharma many times. But CAM CAM (“complementary and alternative”) pharma is every bit as bad. Big CAM takes advantage of generous laws to make medical claims with impunity, often skirting as close as possible to what the law permits. And the Big CAM companies profit handsomely in the process. Everything on the Topricin package – the name, the packaging, the claims – is designed to make the consumer think that it is an effective pain treatment. It’s not. It’s a modern package of snake oil.

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Homeopathic Pain Medicine Contains Poison

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