January 26, 2020

Go Ahead, Little Goat, Eat Some Poison Ivy. It Won't Hurt A Bit

Oh, those goats? I got them from Amazon!

The online giant is testing out a “Home Services” line. You can get a TV mounted on your wall. You can find a plumber. And you can rent a herd of goats to chomp on unwanted vegetation in your yard.

I typed my Maryland ZIP code into “Hire a Goat Grazer.” Sorry, “no providers available.” It turns out that Amazon is wrangling goats only in the Seattle area right now, although a spokesman promises that more cities will be added.

As a goat admirer and editor of a blog called “Goats and Soda,” I wanted to learn more about the grazing habits of goats — especially their alleged immunity to poison ivy. For enlightenment, I turned to Jean-Marie Luginbuhl, professor of crop science and animal science at North Carolina State University.

Why are goats not allergic to poison ivy?

We don’t really know.

Do you have any theories?

If you look at the world population of goats, which is about 937 million, 95 percent of them are within the tropics, north and south of the equator. So they evolved in very arid areas and basically had to survive on plants that contained noxious compounds. So goats evolved this ability to detoxify noxious compounds much better than cattle or sheep [can]. I think that’s one of the reasons.

If a goat ate poison ivy, could I catch poison ivy from that goat’s milk?

Some people have had concern that whatever compound [a goat ate] would be passed into the milk. But it’s not.

And just to confirm: Cattle and sheep might get sick from a plant that wouldn’t bother a goat.

When you look at books that talk about poisonous plants to livestock, a lot of the data are from cattle or sheep. If you see goats eating pokeweed and say, “Wait a minute this is a poisonous plant [to livestock]” — it doesn’t affect goats.

So bring on the goats!

Here in North Carolina I have done work to clear up pastures and an abandoned orchard. We used goats, and they did a wonderful job getting rid of all the invasive vegetation: broadleaf weeds, woody perennials like greenbrier, honeysuckle, black locust, multiflora rose. We have cleared areas full of kudzu [an incredibly invasive vine native to Asia]. We grazed several plots about six times from early June to early October and basically got rid of the kudzu. Maybe 3 percent of it grew back the next year. But if you want to get rid of plants with goats, you have to start early in the spring and [have the goats] defoliate everything, get rid of all the leaves. So the plant has to use root reserves to make the first leaves. And if you do that over and over, these plants spend all of their root reserves and cannot grow anymore.

But I guess you do have to be careful that goats won’t eat plants you like.

If you leave the goats there all the time maybe they will be a little hungry and if they don’t have any green matter to eat, they will start to debark trees because they know the sap is under the bark. They will kill trees. That’s good or bad, depending on the trees.

Can any plant harm a goat?

A lot of ornamental plants are poisonous to goats. Piedmont azalea are not going to necessarily kill goats unless they eat a lot but would make them really sick and throw up. Once they have that experience they would stay away from these plants.

There are a lot of goats in the developing world. Do people there use goats to clear unwanted vegetation?

In Africa they don’t use goats to clean a pasture. But they do use the boughs of whatever woody shrubs are around to feed their goats.

Do goats eat tin cans?

Naw, it’s just a joke. They are very curious. And so they are going to try to eat a lot of things that we see as crazy. But even when they see a piece of plastic they are not going to eat it. They just take it in their mouth and spit it out.

So no to plastic. What about paper?

We had a student working in one of the pastures at a little station where we used to record temperature, soil moisture, wind speed in a notepad. The student put the notepad down to do something with one goat. When she turned around, one month of data had disappeared! She thought she would be fired on the spot. We laughed so hard.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Go Ahead, Little Goat, Eat Some Poison Ivy. It Won't Hurt A Bit

The goats fighting America's plant invasion


The goats fighting America's plant invasion

Humane Society: Poison ivy affects pets, too

After such a prolonged heat wave, the cooler temperatures have made the morning dog walk a lot more enjoyable.

And, it’s a reminder that autumn will be here in no time. The cooler weather also makes us think more about working in the garden, hiking and even camping.

These are activities where we can be exposed to poison oak and poison ivy. Have you ever wondered if our pets can get poison ivy if they come across it during a hike or other outdoor excursion?

Fact is that they can. Thankfully though, dogs don’t seem to get poison ivy nearly as commonly as humans. Their long, protective coats prevent the oils from poison ivy from reaching their skin. Unfortunately, however, the plant oils that cause the itching and irritation that often produce a painful rash can be spread from your canine friend to you. So if your dog “works” in the garden with you or accompanies you on a hike, keep this in mind.

Since our dogs and cats aren’t likely to become contaminated themselves and therefore do not alert us to possible exposure, what should we do to help prevent them from inadvertently transmitting poison ivy to us?

• Try to avoid petting your pet if you suspect poison ivy may be growing in the area and that your pet may have unwittingly found it when exploring. Using a towel to dry wipe him or her can significantly reduce the likelihood of transmission to you.

• Avoid touching your face and wash your hands.

• As soon as possible, take a shower. The plant oil from poison ivy or oak can linger on your own skin.

• Wash the clothes you were wearing. The chemical in the plant oil can stay active for a long time, and it doesn’t require a host.

• Wash your pet’s leash and harness with a mild detergent (make sure you handle the pet gear with gloves).

• Give your dog a bath to reduce the likelihood that poison ivy will find its way into your home.

Even if you don’t suspect poison ivy, toweling off and examining your dog is a good idea as ticks can also hitch a ride. Though monthly preventatives for fleas and ticks will protect your dog, you are still vulnerable. Ticks can carry human diseases, including the very serious Lyme disease.

Outdoor activities with your best friend can be fun. Awareness of some of the risks involved, and how to avoid them, can ensure that the entire experience will be a rewarding one.

Lynn Gensamer is the executive director of Humane Society for Greater Savannah. She can be reached by phone at 912-354-9515, ext. 105, or by email at lgensamer@humanesocietysav.org.


Humane Society: Poison ivy affects pets, too

Do you recognize this mystery plant?

Poison ivy isn’t “evil.” Neither are spiders or hurricanes.

Some plants do cause problems, of course. Poison ivy is a “problem” plant for humans in that it causes lots of people to break out in allergic reactions, sometimes severely.

Yet poison ivy is in fact a widespread native species, providing wildlife food for a variety of critters. It is a common component of many natural ecosystems and has been here in our landscapes a lot longer than we humans have.

On the other hand, there are some plants that have not been around very long, relatively speaking. These are the weeds.

Some weeds are rather innocuous, rarely causing problems. But then other weeds are ravenously destructive, showing up in our lawns, gardens, agricultural fields, just about anywhere.

The thing we should remember about weeds, whether benign or destructive, is that nearly all of them have been introduced by humans into a previously weed-free environment. You might think of these introduced species as “guests,” sometimes invited intentionally, sometimes not. The problem with guests, of course, is that sometimes they stay too long.

And then there is our mystery plant.

It is a gorgeous herb, capable of producing masses of beautiful foliage. The sheathing, pointed leaves are produced on flimsy, fleshy stems that flop over and make new roots. I’ve seen some of these plants producing brightly variegated leaves, striped with yellow.

Flowering occurs in the autumn, until frost. Usually, a single flower will pop up at the end of a stem or in a leaf axil. Each flower is about half an inch wide, with three white or pink petals. Small pods form afterward, containing little seeds.

This is a species that occurs naturally in much of southern Asia, from India to Korea and Japan. Here’s the scary thing: It is now a common component of wetland systems in North America, and is surely present in every Southeastern state. It is also known now as a weed in Oregon and Washington.

For a number of years, botanists knew of it in the South only from the coastal plain, but more recently it has invaded piedmont and mountain settings. It is notorious for rampant growth, crowding out everything around it, and it is definitely invasive. How did it arrive?

One theory is that seeds of this plant were introduced — accidentally — into South Carolina late in the 17th century, contaminating rice seed. According to this idea, this species remained confined to rice fields of South Carolina, and then elsewhere in the Southeast, until relatively recently, and then for whatever reasons, it has taken on a new and more threatening behavior, easily spreading into new habitats.

Waterfowl, which like to eat the seeds, are implicated in this spread. The stems root with such ease that it is no surprise fragments of the plants could easily start up after being transported somewhere else.

Although it isn’t “evil”, this plant guest has gained a nasty reputation. And it doesn’t look like it

wants to leave any time soon.

John Nelson is the curator of the A. C. Moore Herbarium at the University of South Carolina, in the Department of Biological Sciences. As a public service, the herbarium offers free plant identifications. For more information, visit www.herbarium.org, call 803-777-8196 or email nelson@sc.edu.

Answer: “Nasty-weed,” “Asiatic dew-flower,” Murdannia keisak


Do you recognize this mystery plant?

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

MARTINO: Poison ivy is prevalent in summer

July 20, 2014

MARTINO: Poison ivy is prevalent in summer

It might be pretty, but don’t touch

Kokomo Tribune

“Looks like you got into some poison ivy again,” I said to my mother last week. It was easy to tell as a red rash covered her arms and her face was painfully swollen. She is one of those people who loves being outdoors yet highly allergic to the common plant. Sometimes I believe she can get the rash by simply looking at the noxious weed.

Dermatologists estimate about 10 percent of the population has no allergic reaction to poison ivy. That means for the other 90 percent, a brush with the viney shrub can have miserable consequences.

With summer kicking into high gear, poison ivy is lush and plentiful. The weed is a master of disguise and can grow as a shrub, vine or common looking ground cover. Leaves can be shiny or dull with edges smooth or notched.

So how can it be properly recognized? The phrases of “leaves of three, let it be,” and “berries of white, take flight,” are good rules of thumb. Whether hiking in the woods, gardening or even playing in the backyard, it is important to be aware of plants with three leaflets.

Poison ivy tops the list of plants to avoid because it is the most common, growing almost everywhere. It contains urushiol, an oily resin that binds to the skin on contact, resulting in a reaction characterized by an itchy, burning rash that can also lead to blistering of the skin. The rash-causing sap is a clear liquid found in the plants’ leaves, roots and everywhere in between.

Urushiol is extremely potent and only one nanogram (one billionth of a gram) is all it takes to cause a reaction. Although now is peak growing season for poison ivy, it is potent year round. Even worse, urushiol oil can remain 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 clothing, gardening tools or hunting and fishing equipment will cause a rash when it comes into contact with human skin. Pets can be another transporter of the oily resin.

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MARTINO: Poison ivy is prevalent in summer

Ways to Protect Your Family Outdoors

MISSION, KS–(Marketwired – Jul 7, 2014) – (Family Features) Before your family begins enjoying the great outdoors during this adventure-filled season, make sure your yard is properly treated to avoid the dangers of poison ivy, oak or sumac.

Learn the proper steps to keep the threat of poisonous plants away from your family and property. Ashton Ritchie, Lawn & Garden Expert and Author offers this expert advice for protecting your family:

Locating the danger
Keeping your family safe begins with proper identification of these harmful, rash-producing plants. In the right environment, poisonous weeds can grow and spread quickly. Using a photo or resource like StopPoisonIvy.com can help identify the various poison weeds and their stages (Poison Ivy often emerges red and only starts to turn green in late spring). Survey your yard once a month, keeping a close eye on these common areas:

  • Ground Cover: A common area for poison ivy is along the edge of a wooded area or around any shaded and less maintained section of the yard.
  • Trees: By disguising itself as part of a tree limb, poison ivy often climbs up trees situated in shady locations.
  • Edges: If you find that poison ivy continues to invade your outdoor space year after year, you may be experiencing the “edge effect,” a phenomenon that occurs when the wooded areas surrounding your yard dry out. Various weeds flourish under such conditions.
  • Stumps: Dead stumps are also a common hangout for these harmful weeds.

Eliminate the threat
Once you have determined where the poison ivy is located, you can work to remove it from your surroundings. Look for a weed-eliminating product that works double-duty, such as Roundup® Poison Ivy Plus Tough Brush Killer, which penetrates the waxy surface of poison ivy, oak, sumac, kudzu and other tough weeds, while also killing at the roots.

  • Wear protection
    Before contact with these poisonous plants, always wear the proper clothing and protection. Be sure to cover your hands with thick, long gloves and wear a long sleeved shirt and pants in case you accidently touch the plants.
  • Choose the right time
    Always choose a calm, wind-free day for applying products to avoid contact with other desirable plants in your yard. If you can, it is best to apply with a temperature above 60 degrees F.
  • Apply a weed-killing solution
    Spray a specialized weed killer, such as Roundup® Poison Ivy Plus Tough Brush Killer on the leaves until saturated, taking care not to apply to nearby trees, grasses and desirable plants. You should always read and follow label directions.
  • Wait for the plant to completely die
    Perennial weeds such as poison ivy may take 4 or more weeks for a complete kill, so be patient and follow the directions on the specialized weed killer packaging.
  • Regularly monitor surroundings
    Keep new weeds from growing by surveying your outdoor areas at least once a month throughout the busy weed-growing months of May through November.

With proper application and monitoring, your family can enjoy all the outdoor fun without the worry. For more tips and tricks, visit www.StopPoisonIvy.com.

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Ways to Protect Your Family Outdoors

Personal Health: Steering Clear of Poison Ivy

Alexa Grace
Personal Health
Personal Health

Jane Brody on health and aging.

I was once among those who claim, “I could walk through a field of poison ivy and not get it.” One day I learned otherwise: On a hike, I needed to relieve myself in the great outdoors and ended up with an impossibly itchy, blistering rash on a most delicate body part.

Too late I learned that you can develop an allergic reaction to poison ivy after previously uneventful exposures, which induce a sensitivity to the plant’s oily sap, urushiol. Once sensitized, your skin is likely to react to every subsequent exposure. Even people repeatedly exposed who appear to be immune may react to high concentrations of the toxin.

I also learned not to rely on the popular warning, “Leaves of three, let them be,” to alert me to the presence of Toxicodendron radicans, as the poison ivy plant is aptly called by botanists. It is not just the leaves that can provoke a reaction; the stems, roots, flowers and berries all contain urushiol.

Touching or brushing against any of these plant parts, even if they are dead, can cause a reaction. The sap is hardy and can cause a rash in the dead of winter, or even a year after contaminating clothing or shoes that are not thoroughly cleaned.

Poison oak.iStockPoison oak.
Poison sumac.Zoran Ivanovich/The New York TimesPoison sumac.
Poison ivy.iStockPoison ivy.

Urushiol shows up elsewhere, including in the skin of mangoes (and the leaves and bark of the mango tree), as I discovered when I ate a mango still in the rind and ended up with a blistering rash on my mouth. Cashew shells also have the toxin, which is why cashews are sold shelled and processed (either roasted or in the case of “raw” cashews, steamed) at a temperature high enough to destroy urushiol. Poison ivy is not the only problem plant one might encounter while hiking, camping or simply strolling in the countryside. T. radicans has two relatives, poison oak and poison sumac, that don’t always form the classic clusters but are equally toxic troublemakers.

Myths and misconceptions abound about these three plants and the reactions they can cause. Knowing the facts can help to spare you and your family considerable distress.

First, learn to recognize the plants in their various growth patterns. While poison ivy is most often encountered as a small ground plant, it also grows as a shrub and vine. The vines, which turn bright red in fall, were once used to adorn buildings in England.

Poison oak, which has compound leaves made up of three (or sometimes five) leaflets, usually grows as a shrub, but will form a vine in the Western states.

Poison sumac, which grows as a tall shrub or small tree, produces leaves with rows of paired leaflets and a single leaflet at the end. It likes a wet habitat, growing in peat bogs in the Northeast and Midwest and swamps in the Southeast.

Urushiol can penetrate cloth. Although long sleeves, pants and gloves can reduce the risk of exposure, they cannot guarantee protection. Even rubber gloves can be breached. If you must handle the plants or are likely to contact poison ivy when gardening, wear vinyl gloves.

You don’t have to touch the plant directly to react to urushiol. Gardening tools, sporting equipment, even a pet that has been in a patch of poison ivy — all can cause a reaction. My brother, who has been sensitive to urushiol since childhood, once developed the rash on his arm after retrieving a baseball that had rolled through poison ivy.

Before possible exposure, use an over-the-counter skin-care product containing bentoquatam (IvyBlock) to prevent or reduce absorption of urushiol. The combination of this barrier product and protective clothing is your best defense against an inadvertent encounter.

But there is no scientific evidence that jewelweed, feverfew, plantain or other herbal remedies prevent or cure a urushiol-induced rash.

Nor do you become immune to urushiol through repeated exposures to small amounts. Quite the opposite. There is no way to desensitize a person to urushiol as there is with pollen and peanut allergies. Eating mangoes or cashews will not work.

Contrary to popular belief, a poison ivy rash is not contagious. It cannot be spread by oozing blisters, or by scratching or touching the rash. Only direct contact with urushiol causes a reaction. (Scratching can result in an infection, however.)

The rash can appear on different parts of the body at various times. This may happen because the parts were exposed at different times, or because areas with thicker skin are less easily penetrated by the oil. The delicate skin of the genital and perianal areas, for example, is more easily breached than tougher skin on the hands.

Repeated tilling or mowing can eventually kill poison ivy plants, as can repeated applications of an herbicide like Roundup. The latter should be applied with serious caution and only on a warm, sunny day with little or no wind when the plants are actively growing.

If you are highly allergic, or wary of applying herbicides, clearing your property of the plants may be best left to a professional. While goats are said to have a hearty appetite for poison ivy plants, they may eat everything else in the yard, too.

Never try to burn a poison plant. Burning releases the toxin, which may land on skin or, worse, be inhaled and cause a serious internal reaction.

Should you contact a urushiol-containing plant, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends washing your skin immediately. Lukewarm, soapy water is best, but even plain water can limit exposure to the sap. Take care in removing contaminated clothing, and wash it separately as soon as possible.

You can relieve a rash by applying cool compresses with an astringent like Burow’s solution, soaking the affected area in colloidal oatmeal, or using calamine lotion; all are sold over the counter. Do not apply products containing a topical antihistamine, like Benadryl, which can cause a sensitivity reaction that makes matters worse.

Severe reactions may require medically prescribed treatment with an oral corticosteroid like prednisone.

A version of this article appears in print on 06/17/2014, on page D7 of the NewYork edition with the headline: Steering Clear of Poison Ivy.

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Personal Health: Steering Clear of Poison Ivy

Virginia Tech researchers say they've found natrual way to control poison ivy


Two researchers at Virginia Tech say they’ve found a natural way to control poison ivy and say the idea began in a windstorm.

Doctors John Jelesko and Matt Kasson are researchers inside the plant pathology department, who know a lot about one of man’s itchiest enemies, poison ivy.
Jelesko, standing next to a large growth of poison ivy on campus, said the plant grows where it wants.

“It can grow up this tree, in a vine that you see, but also over here it can kind of grow as a shrub and it’s a very dense shrub,” Jelesko said.

Poison ivy produces Urushiol, a chemical that makes 80 percent of all people itch, including Kasson, who pointed out a place on his leg.

“I have a patch here on my leg. See all those red spots?”

These men have found a naturally-growing fungus that kills healthy poison ivy plants.
Jelesko was asked if this new fungus could be a game changer.

“This could be on many accounts. For one thing, [this] natural fungus we found [grows] internally from the plants.”

What’s not known yet is why this fungus kills the plant, but it does. Just as important, said Kasson, the fungus is host specific — meaning it only kills poison ivy.

“We took a plug of the growing fungus culture and we placed it right up against the healthy poison ivy plant and within a few weeks, we should see disease develop naturally in these plants.”

Jelesko said his research began after the derecho of 2012. He was cleaning up his yard and using an electric chainsaw to cut down felled trees. The power cord he said, was dragging right through poison ivy. Jelesko’s wife told him not to do it. For 16 days, he suffered as the rash became worse.

“Yeah, probably the important rule here is always listen to your wife.”

The next step researchers say, is to find someone whom they can partner with, to get this product on the market.

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Virginia Tech researchers say they've found natrual way to control poison ivy

Season of the itch: Poison ivy haunts the Hudson Valley

How to spot, avoid, remove and recover from poison ivy


WHITE PLAINS – Like Jaws, it’s worthy of its own ominous theme song. Yet it sits in silence (The Coasters’ 1959 hit aside), waving in the breeze, lying in wait for contact with an errant ankle or hand.

Poison ivy, known formally as toxicodendron radicans and less formally as a three-leaf, itch-inducing nightmare, is found throughout the region. (Poison oak and poison sumac can grow here, too, but are less common.) It grows on the ground, in hedges, over stone walls and up trees. And while birds eat its fruit and goats don’t mind gnawing its leaves, it seems to exist at least in part simply to vex gardeners, hikers and anyone else who otherwise enjoys the outdoors.

It has three leaflets with smooth or toothed edges and, depending on the time of year, ranges in color from light green to scarlet.

An inadvertent touch from the plant, which contains a toxic oil called urushiol, can result in a blistering rash that itches like crazy and, in some cases, leads to infection and a trip to the emergency room.

Jerry Giordano, senior horticultural consultant with the Cornell Co-operative Extension, is one of the lucky ones. He’s not allergic to urushiol—for now. In a recent field study, he said, “I would be brushing up against it all the time and I never got any reaction to it. But that can change.”

Some things to know:

• Poison ivy is toxic year-round. Even if yanked from the soil and left for dead, the urushiol in its leaves, stem and roots can remain potent for a year or more. Urushiol on clothes is dangerous, too, so wash any pants, socks or shirts that come in contact with the plant.

• Removing poison ivy from a yard or garden can be difficult. “As soon as you see a seedling, you should get it out,” Giordano said. “Look at your property and root it out when you first find it.” Eradicating a mature stand of poison ivy can take several seasons of spraying, often with considerable collateral damage to nearby plants. Don’t burn it, as the smoke can carry the oil into nearby lungs.

• Skin that comes in contact with the plant should be washed immediately with cold water and dish soap or any of several ivy-specific soaps available at drug stores. “Calamine lotion is still a good thing,” Dr. David Amler, a White Plains pediatrician, said. “If you get a more extensive rash, which increases as time goes on, we use oral steriods,” which must be prescribed. “It’s itchy, it’s bothersome, it’s a pain,” Amler said. “You’re scratching all the time.”

The best advice comes from Rockland County Public Health Educator Pat Parke: “Avoid it.”

Twitter: @NPRauch


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Season of the itch: Poison ivy haunts the Hudson Valley

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