December 8, 2019

Women take nontraditional trail to empowerment

Published: Sunday, 3/29/2015

Women take nontraditional trail to empowerment


There is more to encounter along a rugged trek through the mountains than mud, boulders and an occasional cluster of poison ivy. For the women who are now taking to the trails, there is immense power and a strong sense of freedom found in trudging up those narrow switchbacks and imposing inclines.

Backpacking, climbing, hiking, and mountaineering are welcoming women in increasing numbers, and women are finding significant rewards while traversing terrain that in the distant past belonged primarily to men. Many parks throughout the country are now offering hiking and backpacking programs designed specifically for women, and these programs often include survival skills training, orienteering, map reading, sessions on setting up a camp, and even lessons on safety in bear country.

April Bruder is the mother of three and a kindergarten teacher in the Cincinnati area. She took part in the “Women in the Wilderness” program in the Great Smoky Mountains and came back anxious for a return trip.

“I love being outside, and I love the wilderness, so the idea of being in the outdoors with like-minded women sounded really appealing,” she said. “I was looking for a great experience, and it was all that, and more.”

Bruder said she and her family are not experienced campers, and that her husband “rolled his eyes” when she first pitched the notion of going backpacking, but eventually he was supportive of her taking part in such an adventure.

“I learned so much about the forest — everything is a nature lesson when you have a good guide,” she said. “We walked through flooded creeks and we slept outside, with the bears. This is so empowering for women, just to show ourselves that we can do it, and prove to others that we can do it.”

Most of the backpacking trips in the “Women in the Wilderness” program last three days, but longer outings are available. The groups are eased into the experience with a 3-5 mile hike the first day. Vesna Plakanis, who runs “A Walk in the Woods” guide service in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, said the outdoors adventure provides women with a boost in self confidence that can benefit every aspect of their lives.

“Women who join us are forever changed,” Plakanis said. “They come away feeling so strong and confident after learning how to make a fire with just one match, how to deal with the sounds and darkness of the woods at night and how to make themselves comfortable in the natural world. It’s empowering for a woman to give herself permission to do something just for her and to accomplish something she never thought she could do.”

Amy Conn is an assistant principal in the Canton school system, and following a divorce she decided she needed an experience that would be both demanding and rewarding, and she found it in a backpacking trip along the Appalachian Trail.

“I had some challenges in my life, and I wanted to do something I could accomplish for myself,” she said. “I debated going on this trip for a long time, and then I finally paid for it so I would have to go. I just needed something that was just me — nobody helped. I could look back and say I did it all on my own.”

Conn, who has three children, said she initially balked at going backpacking in the mountains, fearing she might not be able to handle the physical demands of the trip. There would be no contact with the outside world during the hike, and no cell service available.

“My family thought I was crazy, and I was really afraid to go, but it turned out to be much more than I expected,” she said. “It was not like a normal vacation at all. We were 12 miles from the nearest road, but you get used to the isolation, and when you finish, the sense of accomplishment is much more that I ever expected.”

Many women who step out independently and take that initial backpacking trip, make that baptismal climb, or walk a mountain trail for the first time say they want to return with their children and/​or their husband so that family members can share the fun and the adventure.

“It is not on purpose, but I think women fall into that routine when they are married and they always have someone else to lean on, someone else to take the trash out, and so on,” Conn said.

“But doing this kind of thing on your own — it is empowering. You put one foot in front of the other and get lost in your thoughts, but when you come back you just want to do it again, and take your kids and your family along. You want them to have the same great experience in the outdoors.”

Along a similar line, Ohio and Michigan both offer a wide range of skills training in the “Becoming an Outdoors Woman” program, which has been around for nearly 25 years and is now available in 44 states and nine Canadian provinces.

The workshops take place over a long weekend and in Ohio they are coordinated through the Division of Wildlife. Each fall, a group of women gather to learn how to handle a fly rod, navigate whitewater in a kayak, or load and fire a muzzleloader. There are also sessions in basic canoeing, cartridge reloading, outdoor photography, archery, basic shotgun use, tracking, handgun basics, using a tree stand, trail foods, and Dutch oven cooking. More information on the Ohio “Becoming an Outdoors Woman” program is available by calling the 1-800-WILDLIFE hotline.

The “Becoming an Outdoors Woman” workshops offered by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources are focused on offering women the opportunity to learn the skills necessary to enjoy activities such as hunting, fishing, canoeing, orienteering, and backpacking, with all of the lessons emphasizing a “hands-on” approach.

More information on the Michigan “Becoming an Outdoors Woman” program is available by emailing Sharon Pitz: pitzs@michigan.gov. Additional information on the “Women in the Wilderness” outings in Great Smoky Mountains at: National Park can be found at the AWalkintheWoods.com website.

Contact Blade outdoors editor Matt Markey at: mmarkey@theblade.com or 419-724-6068.

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Women take nontraditional trail to empowerment

ElectroVine: Power cord disguised as a house plant

Go green with a plant-like power cord.
Artificially Natural

Power cords are notoriously unattractive cables that snake around on your floor looking disorderly. You can try to hide them, but the unruly animals soon emerge, untamable. Kickstarter project ElectroVine figures that if you’re stuck with a power cord, it might as well look like something else entirely.

The ElectroVine is exactly what it sounds like, a six-foot extension cord that looks like a string of ivy. It’s like the cable section at Radio Shack crashed into the fake-plant department at Michaels. The cord features 26 clusters of fake leaves that can be adjusted and moved around.

The cord can be used outside or inside. It definitely makes sense as an exterior cord that can blend into its surroundings. Using the ElectroVine as an interior cord, however, invites a certain sensation of surrealism. You can make it look like your lamp or laptop is powered by a house plant.

Though ElectroVine has been honored as a Kickstarter staff pick, it’s slow to catch on with the general crowdfunding public. It has nearly $4,000 in pledges towards a $13,000 goal with only 12 days left. There are still plenty of early-bird options to pledge $35 for a cord. The standard pledge price is $40.

Perhaps the world isn’t ready for an extension cord that cosplays as a vine. Perhaps people are looking at it and figuring they could DIY something similar with a trip to the hobby store. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that ElectroVine is making a real effort to improve the appearance of extension cords, which is a truly noble cause.

The ElectroVine may spawn a whole new aesthetic for extension cords. Here’s hoping someone comes up with cords that look like snakes, tentacles from Cthulhu, or fluffy cat tails. It would certainly make the nest of cords behind my computer desk a lot more fun to look at.

electoVine leaves
A closer look at the leaves.
Artificially Natural

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ElectroVine: Power cord disguised as a house plant

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.


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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


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.


Topical BioMedics, Inc.


Mayo Clinic

Discovery Health

American Academy of Dermatology


Wiki How

UGA Center for Urban Agriculture

Indiana Department of Natural Resources

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

New Vitality Health Foods, Inc. Provides Tips on How to Naturally Treat Common Summertime Ailments

The New Vitality Health Foods, Inc staff are knowledgable in the variety of natural and homeopathic remedies the store carries, and can assist you in selecting the proper product.

People more vulnerable to food poisoning include children, the elderly, pregnant women and anyone with a compromised immune system.

Orland Park, IL (PRWEB) May 28, 2014

Insect Bites

Before going outdoors, it is important to protect against disease carrying mosquitoes and tics by using an all natural insect repellent such as Buzz Away Extreme or Green Beaver. New Vitality Health Foods, Inc. carries both brands.

While most bites and stings will heal on their own, they can present some irritable reactions. New Vitality Health Foods, Inc. recommends the following natural remedies to help relieve insect bite pain, itching, and swelling:

1. Apply an ice pack or a cool wet cloth to a bite or sting for 15 to 20 minutes once an hour.

2. Try putting witch hazel or underarm deodorant on the bite to help stop itching.

3. An antihistamine, such as Benadryl or Chlor-Trimeton, may help relieve itching, redness, and swelling. Don’t give antihistamines to a child unless you’ve checked with the doctor first.

4. New Vitality Health Foods Inc. carries Sting Stop by Boericke and Tafel, both help relieve itching and redness.

Watch for an extreme allergic reaction following an insect bite. Seek immediate medical attention if airway restriction occurs or extreme swelling at the bite sight.

Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac Plants

The poison ivy rash can be transmitted by: direct contact with the plant; indirect contact when you touch pets, gardening tools, sports equipment, or other objects that had direct contact with the plant; or airborne contact from burning these plants, which releases particles of urushiol into the air that can penetrate the skin, eyes, nose, throat, or respiratory system. Poison ivy is extremely contagious. It is important bedding is washed daily and towels are not shared.

Symptoms, which generally last from one to two weeks, include:

  • Red streaks or patches
  • Itching
  • Rash
  • Swelling
  • Blisters that may “weep” (leak fluid) and later crust over
  • Inflammation and a burning sensation

New Vitality Health Foods, Inc. recommends the following natural remedies to help relieve poison ivy symptoms:

1. Immediately wash the rash with mild soap, but do not scrub.

2. Put a wet cloth on the rash to ease pain and itching.

3. Homeopathic Rhus Tox for Poison Ivy Remedy by Hylands relieve poison ivy symptoms.

4. Baking soda is a natural remedy for the itchiness. To help relieve itching, place 1/2 a cup of baking soda in a bath tub filled with warm water. You can also mix three teaspoons of baking soda with one teaspoon of water and mix until it forms a paste. Apply this paste to the infected area to relieve itching and irritation.

5. Witch hazel can help relieve the itch of poison ivy and tightens skin. The cooling, soothing extract will not get rid of the rash, but it will calm it down.

6. Aloe vera will help to relieve itching skin. Compounds in aloe help to accelerate wound healing.

7. Tea tree oil soothes the itch of poison ivy and serves as an anti-inflammatory.

Summertime Food Poisoning

Food poisoning is a real risk when taking food outside the home for packed lunches, picnics, camping, and other outdoor events, especially in warmer weather. High-risk foods for contamination include meat, poultry, dairy products, eggs, seafood, cooked rice and pasta, and ready-to-eat foods. People more vulnerable to food poisoning include children, the elderly, pregnant women and anyone with a compromised immune system.

At first signs of symptoms, take equal parts water and apple cider vinegar. In water or some kind of soft food, take 1/2 tsp or more of activated charcoal (or capsules if you can swallow them). Repeat until symptoms stop. Both of these products are available at New Vitality Health Foods, Inc.


To help elevate the pain, redness and swelling that can accompany sunburn, New Vitality Health Foods, Inc. recommends:

1. Witch hazel is an incredible astringent has been shown to have long-lasting anti-inflammatory relief. Apply often for temporary relief.

2. Do not soak in soapy water because they can dry and irritate burned skin. Do not rub your skin, or you’ll irritate it further. In order to reduce pain, itching, and inflammation, try adding vinegar to bath water. Mix 1 cup of white or apple cider vinegar into a tub of cool water. Baking soda can also offer relief. Generously sprinkle baking soda into tepid bathwater. Instead of toweling off, let the solution dry on your skin. It is completely nontoxic, and it will soothe the pain.

3. Just Aloe Gel for sunburn will help soothe sunburn.

About New Vitality Health Foods, Inc.:

Established in 1988, New Vitality Health Foods, Inc. provides Chicagoland’s largest selection of allergy-free foods that have met their high standards for taste, quality, and nutrition. New allergy-free foods are introduced weekly. They also carry frozen foods, vitamins, herbs, homeopathic, aromatherapy, body care, pet care, household items, and much more. New Vitality features only the highest quality, effective nutritional supplements to support their customers’ total health. New Vitality Health Foods, Inc. is located at 9177 West 151st Street, Orland Park, IL 60462; (708) 403-0120; http://www.newvitalityhealthfoods.com.


New Vitality Health Foods, Inc. Provides Tips on How to Naturally Treat Common Summertime Ailments

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

You don’t want to itch for spring – poison ivy is lurking

You don’t want to itch for spring – poison ivy is lurking

With spring will come green plants, some of which give humans contact dermatitis or irritated skin.

There are three main offenders to watch for locally: western poison ivy, nettles and wild parsnip, said Randy Schindle, private land specialist with the Department of Natural Resources.

All three irritate in different ways, he added.

“Poison ivy has a chemical in it; more an allergic reaction,” Schindle said.

It gives a person water blisters and severe itching, but there’s a simple cure.

“Soap and water takes care of it,” Schindle said. “Get to soap as quick as you can.”

Touching poison ivy isn’t the only danger. If you’re trying to get rid of it with fire, watch out.

“Breathe it in when it’s burning and you’ll get a reaction in the lungs,” Schindle said. “Not a good thing.”

poison ivy
You don’t want to itch for spring – poison ivy is lurking

Poison ivy is a low vine with three leaves that are usually glossy and turn red in the fall. The berries are white/light green and are eaten by birds. Other than feeding the birds, Schindle didn’t know of any other purpose it serves, but said it was a native plant.

Nettles are also native. Look for a wood stem covered with leaves that have serrated edges, and “a greenish-white spike of flowers on top,” Schindle said.

“It gets pretty tall,” he added. “I’ve seen it over six feet.”

Both kinds of nettles – stinging nettle and wood nettle – have “little hairs” that inject histamine and other chemicals, he said.

“It just burns more than anything,” Schindle said of the reaction. It doesn’t cause water blisters, but the skin might get red.

Ironically, it doesn’t burn indiscriminately.

“It only burns where you don’t have fingerprints,” Schindle said. “You can actually touch it with the pads of your fingers, but [if you touch it] with the backs of your fingers, it’ll burn you.”

poison ivy
You don’t want to itch for spring – poison ivy is lurking

The chemicals don’t stand up to boiling water.

“Drop it in boiling water and you have instant spinach,” Schindle said. “I’ve eaten them and they’re quite good.”

Schindle said nettles might be found in health food stores, but he wasn’t sure what it is used for.

Although nettles might made a good substitute for your salad, you don’t want to mistake wild parsnip – and Schindle said it’s easy to do.

“Wild parsnip is in the dill or carrot family,” he said. It’s a wild form of domestic parsnip and looks similar to dill or Golden Alexander, which are beneficial, while wild parsnip is dangerous.

“It will cause very severe blistering and burning,” Schindle said.

Make sure you take note of where wild parsnip grows, because whether you react to it or not depends on when you encounter it.

“Wild parsnip has a photo-chemical reaction that reacts with sunshine,” Schindle said. “If you’re out in the dark, you’re fine.”

Wild parsnip can be a big plant, growing to 6 feet, he said. It has bigger seed than its look-a-likes, and the leaves are different.

Unlike poison ivy and nettles, wild parsnip is not native.

poison ivy
You don’t want to itch for spring – poison ivy is lurking

“It’s a very invasive plant,” Schindle warned.

People can help keep it from spreading by being careful when they mow, particularly road ditches.

“It’s biennial, like carrots,” Schindle said.

Biennials die after two years. The first year, wild parsnip will just get leaves. The second year, it will bloom, go to seed and die. When they are mowed while in seed, it spreads the seeds and allows the plants to proliferate.

It’s best to get rid of it before it goes to seed, Schindle said.

“Mow them just when they’re starting to bloom,” he said.

Another way to get rid of all three is herbicide, but check the labels or ask the advice of a plant expert. Schindle said nettles can be pulled by hand, but you must wear gloves.

“Just be sure of your ID before you decide to control them,” Schindle warned. “You might be controlling a beneficial plant.”

poison ivy

You don’t want to itch for spring – poison ivy is lurking | You don’t want to itch for spring – poison ivy is lurking
You don’t want to itch for spring – poison ivy is lurking | You don’t want to itch for spring – poison ivy is lurking

You don’t want to itch for spring – poison ivy is lurking

You don’t want to itch for spring – poison ivy is lurking

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