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October 15, 2018

Ticks, mosquitoes on the rise in Iowa


Ticks, mosquitoes on the rise in Iowa

New report warns of climate impact on wildlife

By Gabriella Dunn, The Gazette

Published:

August 19 2014 | 6:21 pm – Updated: 19 August 2014 | 6:44 pm

in

News

,



DES MOINES — Ballooning amounts of ticks, mosquitoes and poison ivy are invading Iowa because of climate change, and the increase will bring higher rates for disease, according to a report by the Iowa Wildlife Federation.

The report, titled “Ticked Off — America’s Outdoor Experience and Climate Change,” outlined effects on the outdoors from rising carbon dioxide rates, increased humidity and altered seasons like milder winters.

“If we keep the status quo the way we’re living, it will keep getting worse and we will start seeing diseases we never dreamed about coming to our soil,” said Dr. Yogesh Shah, associate dean of the Department of Global Health at Des Moines University.

To illustrate his point, Shah highlighted the rise of Chikungunya, a viral disease transmitted by mosquito bites, which starts with cold-like symptoms and then persists as joint pains for up to several years. Chikungunya, he said, was hardly discussed just six months ago, but will likely become more prevalent.

Shah said that with every degree increase in temperature, mosquito population increases by nearly tenfold — plus the viruses are living longer in each mosquito.

The report found that more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, mainly from burning fossil fuels, is causing poison ivy to grow more rapidly and with stronger toxicity.

“If a drop used to cause a rash, now it’s just half a drop,” Shah said.

Deer ticks that carry Lyme disease are expected to be “more widespread than ever before” because of milder winters.

“Climate change is not so subtle anymore,” said Joe Wilkinson, president of the Iowa Wildlife Federation. “With temperatures going up a degree to two, as a human, I can handle that. But what will be the cumulative effect?”

The report encourages people to reduce carbon pollution, invest in clean energy, increase energy efficiency, put buffers around farmland to keep soil in place, clean stagnant pools of water where mosquitoes breed and wear protective clothing outdoors.


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.

Ambler officials consider turning to goats to combat poison ivy problem in Borough Park

Officials in Ambler may have found a four-legged solution to a growing problem at one borough park.

During the May 7 borough council meeting, Mayor Jeanne Sorg offered a creative solution to combat the spreading poison ivy plants that are growing in a section of Borough Park behind Tennis Avenue along the banks of the Wissahickon Creek — hiring goats to eat them away.

The idea came about after council member Frank DeRuosi offered a status update on the borough’s parks and briefly mentioned the problem as one of a few minor issues that need to be addressed.

“The poison ivy thing is near and dear to my heart,” Sorg said. “Something to think about, I don’t know, because using chemicals is really the best way to get rid of [it], but a lot of people don’t want to use them, especially since we’re talking water here. The next best way is almost to do what Haverford College, and a lot of other institutions have done, which is, basically, hiring a goat herder and goats. Goats absolutely love [the plant]. Humans seem to be the only mammals that are allergic to it, my husband specifically. So I’m just throwing that out there; it’s something to think about.”

“No goats allowed in the park,” joked Borough Manager Mary Aversa. “No, I’m just kidding. What happened was the [Environmental Action Committee] did a project down there and they got this mulch brought in. It was covered in poison ivy. I think they’ve kept a handle on it, but [around] this season it gets really bad.”

The problem, according to one borough employee, was the plants grow too closely to the creek, making it too difficult to bring equipment in to get rid of them.

“People used to go down there to sit by the water,” said council member Sharon McCormick, “but now it’s unusable. The weeds grow nine feet sometimes in some spots. And the only thing that’s cleared is the trail.”

McCormick said the goal of the EAC’s project was to create what’s called a riparian buffer, which according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is a vegetated area near a stream that protects waterways from being disturbed from harmful chemicals and other contaminants. Experts, though, told her it would take a team of about 25 people just to maintain the buffer on a regular basis.

“It’s so overgrown,” she said. “It’s so overgrown that I think a lot of those trees there have died from being strangled. We tried as best we could to help it, but it’s unmanageable and it’s unusable.”

Sorg said about a dozen goats can eat a quarter acre of poison ivy in a couple hours. Continued…

If Ambler were to try the unconventional approach of hiring livestock to act as natural weed mowers, it wouldn’t be the first.

Last summer, Upper Dublin Township hired sheep to eat their way through the overgrown grass and weeds at the detention basin behind the township building. The project cost the township about $300, mainly for a water trough.

Other reports of using sheep as eco-lawnmowers have come in from around the globe including places in Paris and at the Chicago International Airport.

Back in Ambler, Aversa said she’d like to look into companies that could get rid of the plants.

“We’ve even had an issue where we’ve had the guys try to do some work and they get poison ivy really bad,” she said. “Maybe we can look at a company to come in and just try and [get rid of the plants.] … Every time I send them out, I get three guys that get it. It’s bad.”

Sorg said the goats would be fenced in and would need to be sent in a number of times to permanently fix the problem.

“I think we’d have to do a lot of study on it,” Sorg said. “What I was reading was at Haverford, it’s $400 for each time they bring them in.”

Aversa said the borough would look in to it.

Vice President Peter Amento asked about what would happen when the goats “relieve themselves” while they’re out eating the plants.

A number of council members then chimed in laughing by saying “natural fertilizer.”

Follow Eric Devlin on Twitter @Eric_Devlin.

Officials in Ambler may have found a four-legged solution to a growing problem at one borough park.

During the May 7 borough council meeting, Mayor Jeanne Sorg offered a creative solution to combat the spreading poison ivy plants that are growing in a section of Borough Park behind Tennis Avenue along the banks of the Wissahickon Creek — hiring goats to eat them away.

The idea came about after council member Frank DeRuosi offered a status update on the borough’s parks and briefly mentioned the problem as one of a few minor issues that need to be addressed.

“The poison ivy thing is near and dear to my heart,” Sorg said. “Something to think about, I don’t know, because using chemicals is really the best way to get rid of [it], but a lot of people don’t want to use them, especially since we’re talking water here. The next best way is almost to do what Haverford College, and a lot of other institutions have done, which is, basically, hiring a goat herder and goats. Goats absolutely love [the plant]. Humans seem to be the only mammals that are allergic to it, my husband specifically. So I’m just throwing that out there; it’s something to think about.”

“No goats allowed in the park,” joked Borough Manager Mary Aversa. “No, I’m just kidding. What happened was the [Environmental Action Committee] did a project down there and they got this mulch brought in. It was covered in poison ivy. I think they’ve kept a handle on it, but [around] this season it gets really bad.”

The problem, according to one borough employee, was the plants grow too closely to the creek, making it too difficult to bring equipment in to get rid of them.

“People used to go down there to sit by the water,” said council member Sharon McCormick, “but now it’s unusable. The weeds grow nine feet sometimes in some spots. And the only thing that’s cleared is the trail.”

McCormick said the goal of the EAC’s project was to create what’s called a riparian buffer, which according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is a vegetated area near a stream that protects waterways from being disturbed from harmful chemicals and other contaminants. Experts, though, told her it would take a team of about 25 people just to maintain the buffer on a regular basis.

“It’s so overgrown,” she said. “It’s so overgrown that I think a lot of those trees there have died from being strangled. We tried as best we could to help it, but it’s unmanageable and it’s unusable.”

Sorg said about a dozen goats can eat a quarter acre of poison ivy in a couple hours.

If Ambler were to try the unconventional approach of hiring livestock to act as natural weed mowers, it wouldn’t be the first. Last summer, Upper Dublin Township hired sheep to eat their way through the overgrown grass and weeds at the detention basin behind the township building. The project cost the township about $300, mainly for a water trough.

Other reports of using sheep as eco-lawnmowers have come in from around the globe including places in Paris and at the Chicago International Airport.

Back in Ambler, Aversa said she’d like to look into companies that could get rid of the plants.

“We’ve even had an issue where we’ve had the guys try to do some work and they get poison ivy really bad,” she said. “Maybe we can look at a company to come in and just try and [get rid of the plants.] … Every time I send them out, I get three guys that get it. It’s bad.”

Sorg said the goats would be fenced in and would need to be sent in a number of times to permanently fix the problem.

“I think we’d have to do a lot of study on it,” Sorg said. “What I was reading was at Haverford, it’s $400 for each time they bring them in.”

Aversa said the borough would look in to it.

Vice President Peter Amento asked about what would happen when the goats “relieve themselves” while they’re out eating the plants.

A number of council members then chimed in laughing by saying “natural fertilizer.”

Follow Eric Devlin on Twitter @Eric_Devlin.

Source article:  

Ambler officials consider turning to goats to combat poison ivy problem in Borough Park

Goats to be free landscape labor

SUNDERLAND, MD. — Have you herd? Goats will soon be making their way through Maryland and Northern Virginia, as property owners trade machinery and labor crews for hungry, four-legged landscapers ready to decimate any vegetation in their way.

Mary Bowen, owner of Sunderland-based Green Goats and Prosperity Acres farm, will be putting her herd of more than 70 goats to work from May to October, using them to clear overgrown vegetation in various private and public areas across the state.

Unlike traditional land-clearing methods such as herbicide treatments and excavation services, which can have adverse effects on the environment, goats offer an environmentally-friendly alternative.

Poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac are some of the goats favorite vegetation choices, making the animals perfect for jobs with highly concentrated areas of poisonous plants humans wouldnt dare tackle themselves.

Green Goats

Bowen founded Green Goats three years ago, with the intention of providing a service that would benefit both the environment and the state.

For years, the Bowen family had been showing goats, along with cattle and horses, at local 4-H shows around the state, including the Anne Arundel County Fair in Crownsville and the Maryland State Fair in Timonium.

I wanted to be able to do something with the goats other than showing them. … I actually wanted to utilize them to do what they naturally do, which is forage, Bowen said.

After linking up with Enrique Escobar, a small ruminant specialist and assistant professor at the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore, Bowen was able to make her plan a reality.

During a workshop in which Escobar recounted past experiences with using goats for land clearing projects in Oklahoma, Bowen saw the potential in bringing the practices to Maryland.

I decided I wanted to be able to develop this business, because I had heard in other states, particularly California, where they use the goats to clear out for firebreaks in the park services … and that was what I really wanted to be able to start doing, Bowen said. Something that is good for our community … good for our state.

(Page 2 of 2)

Bowen noted that when using goats, there is no need to dispose of debris, no pollution from machinery, and no need to acquire land clearing permits that might be required for a traditional excavation crew. In addition, the goats provide free fertilizer throughout the course of their stay.

Sometimes you have to use herbicides … theres just no other way to get around it, I understand that, she said, but if we can reduce the amount of herbicides that are used to almost nothing, thats what I prefer and the goats can obliterate any job weve put them on so far.

Brian Knox, owner of Eco-Goats, based in Davidsonville, uses his herd to run a vegetation control and land clearing business much like that of Bowens.

As a natural resource consultant and president of Sustainable Resource Management Inc., Knox first got started with his business after one of his clients mentioned they were looking for a way to put their livestock to use.

Knox said what followed was an experiment that was wildly successful one that would eventually take over his summers as a full-time business, and according to Knox, the popularity of these businesses is on the rise.

Knox said he has consulted goat owners from all over the country, including Indiana, Oregon and Pennsylvania, to aid farmers in their efforts to establish similar businesses.

“Goats are pretty cool”

Goats eat up to 20 percent of their body weight each day, and the length of each project depends on the size of the property and the amount of vegetation both of which also help dictate how many goats Bowen will allot to the job.

Bowen currently runs the business with her two children, Jacqueline, 14, and Jacob, 12, who assist with caring for the goats and setting up each job which is fairly simple, as Bowen only needs to fence in the goats, provide water and leave the animals to take care of the rest.

In the past, the goats have worked on a variety of projects ranging anywhere from historic sites to golf courses, including Mellomar Golf Park in Owings.

In October, nearing the end of last years work season, the Green Goats made news after uncovering what were thought to be eight lost gravesites at St. Ignatius Cemetery in Port Tobacco.

With publicity surrounding goats on the rise, both Bowen and Knox are anticipating a busy summer.

I certainly am seeing a lot of inquires this year from all over the place, Knox said. I usually get some, but right now it seems that there is way more interest than past years.

To most people, goats are pretty cool!

Read original article – 

Goats to be free landscape labor

Poison Ivy Survival Tips for Fall from Topical BioMedics

Pretty Poison: “Leaves of Three, Let it Be”

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) October 16, 2013

The cool, crisp days of autumn bring with them the pleasures of leaf peeping, apple picking, pumpkin carving, and brisk walks. For most Americans, it also means fall yard pickup—and along with it, an increased exposure to poison ivy. According to a report published in Weed Science, research indicates that poison ivy has grown much more aggressive since the 1950s, with leaf size and oil content measurably increased. This is bad news if you are one of the more than 350,000 people who are stricken by poison ivy annually.

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, which many people develop an allergy to over time.

Urushiol oil remains active for several years, so 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.

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.”

ABOUT THE PLANT

Captain John Smith was the first to describe the plant, coining the name “Poison Ivy” in 1609. Poison ivy grows throughout much of North America, and is extremely common in New England, the Mid-Atlantic, and southeastern U.S. It’s typically found in wooded areas as well as exposed rocky areas and open fields, and can be recognized by its group of three leaflets on small stems coming off larger main stems. For decades parents have taught their children the sing-song phrase “leaves of three, let it be” as a way of learning to spot this pretty but toxic plant. Poison ivy also has inconspicuous greenish flowers with five petals, and berry-like fruits that are hard and whitish.

There are two types of poison ivy, the climbing variety, toxicondendron radicans, and the non-climbing, toxicodendron rydbergil (from the Latin toxicum, “poison,” and the Greek dendron, “tree”). Because the varieties interbreed, they look similar and sometimes grow in the same places. They also create the same allergic rash, which may last anywhere from a week to three weeks.

Although some people are immune to poison ivy, 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

Poison ivy’s 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 with an allergic rash. In fact, upwards of 90% of the population develops an allergy to it.

You and your family can have a more enjoyable fall 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, the route your children walk to school, 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.)
  • 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 making 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 those aches and pains from doing yard work.
  • At least 50 percent of the people who come into contact with poison ivy develop an itchy rash. The most dangerous type of exposure occurs when the plant is burned and the smoke is inhaled, which can affect your lungs.
  • 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).
  • 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 oil and 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:

— 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.

About Topical BioMedics, Inc.: Topical BioMedics is a research and development leader in topical natural medicines for pain relief. The company’s product line includes original Topricin Pain Relief and Healing Cream, Topricin Foot Therapy Cream, and Topricin for Children. The natural formulas have been awarded a patent for the topical treatment of pain associated with fibromyalgia and neuropathy, and are safe for diabetics.

Topricin products are made in the U.S.A. and are in compliance with federal rules for homeopathic over-the-counter medicines. Topricin products are growing in popularity and are safe for diabetics and the entire family, including pregnant women. Topricin is also a lifestyle product that athletes and other active people appreciate for its ability to help with performance and recovery.

Topricin formulas contain: no parabens, petroleum or harsh chemicals, are odorless, greaseless and non-irritating, and produce no known side effects. Doctors and pharmacists can find more information about Topricin in the Physicians’ Desk Reference (PDR). http://www.Topricin.com.

###

SOURCES:

Topical BioMedics, Inc.

WebMD

Mayo Clinic

Discovery Health

American Academy of Dermatology

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Poison Ivy Survival Tips for Fall from Topical BioMedics

Is Poison Ivy Getting Nastier?

By: Jenny Marder

The shiny three leaves of poison ivy. Photo by Susan Biddle/The Washington Post/Getty Images.

Ahh, summertime. A long wilderness hike followed by a refreshing swim in the river followed by — music screeches to halt — a nasty case of poison ivy. Few things can ruin a good romp in the woods like the three-leaved plant, which, when touched, is known to cause oozing and itchy blisters. And with warmer weather, it’s out, it’s rampant, and some scientists say that climate change could be making it worse.

A much-cited study published in 2006 found that a rise in carbon dioxide both fueled the growth of the weed and increased the potency of urushiol, the oil at the root of the rash. Poison oak and poison sumac also contain urushiol, and all three can cause the blistering rash. Airborne sap-coated soot can also get into the eyes, nose, throat and respiratory system, according to the National Park Service.

That study involved planting PVC pipes into six plots of North Carolina’s 7,000-acre Duke Forest. Carbon dioxide was blown through holes in the pipes, which stretched to the tops of the tree canopies, while another control group of pipes vented normal air. Of all the plants, poison ivy was the hands-down winner, said Jacqueline Mohan, assistant professor at the University of Georgia and the study’s lead author.

“It was the most responsive species to the higher carbon dioxide in the atmosphere,” Mohan said. “The average little tree that I measured grew 8 percent faster. And poison ivy grew 149 percent faster than it would have under ambient, normal carbon dioxide conditions.”

The logic lies in photosynthesis, she says. Whereas trees waste carbohydrates on building support structures — trunks, bark and branches — vines bypass this by using fences and other existing structures as their support. They also contain more leafy surface area, allowing them to draw in more CO2 and make more plant food, which they use to make more leaves, further driving photosynthesis and continuing the cycle. (Anything that’s brown is not photosynthesizing, Mohan says.)

Map by Elizabeth Shell.

And the carbon dioxide appeared to make the plant as much as 30 percent more potent.

Here’s how Mohan explains it. If you compare butter and olive oil, butter is more saturated than olive oil. Butter is made up of single carbon-carbon bonds, which translates to a denser substance. Oil is less saturated, and thus more fluid. The team found that when urushiol became more unsaturated — more like olive oil — it was able to interact more readily with human skin cells.

“We found that under high CO2 conditions, the urushiol becomes 30 percent more unsaturated, or should we just say 30 percent more nasty,” Mohan said.

A separate study in Wisconsin on the change in vine abundance over a 45-year period found the opposite. Using a data set published in 1959 on Wisconsin forests, researchers resurveyed the same area, using the same methods, and found that the amount of woody vines had not changed over the 45 years. This is despite the fact that atmospheric CO2 had risen globally by more than 20 percent over the 45-year study period. Not only that, but poison ivy in that forest was the only woody vine to decrease significantly over this period.

So what might explain the discrepancy? One explanation is that woody vines like poison ivy might be limited more by freezing winter temperatures than they are fueled by carbon dioxide.

“It may be too cold for the vines to take advantage of the higher CO2,” said Stefan Schnitzer, author of the Wisconsin study and related commentary and a professor at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Vessels that carry water inside the plant stems can freeze under cold conditions, ultimately killing the plant.

Mohan added that a surge in white-tailed deer, driven by a drop in hunting, may explain the decrease. Deer are known to consume large amounts of the weed. To know for sure what role the CO2 played, you’d have to build fencing and study the poison ivy over time in areas untouched by the deer, she said.

“But I’d be willing to bet the barn on this one,” Mohan said.

Schnitzer stresses that he’s not disputing Mohan’s paper, which he calls “impeccable work.” But he and Mohan both say it shows the need for more research.

“Poison ivy in my opinion is a remarkably understudied species,” Mohan said. “Most scientists avoid it.”

Not so surprising, since people who study it can end up with terrible cases of poison ivy, pointed out William Schlesinger, president of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, who researches the impact of rising carbon dioxide on desert and forest systems and was a co-author the Duke Forest study. And the allergy is known to worsen with exposure.

Mohan is no exception. As a result of her work, Mohan, who was only mildly allergic to poison ivy initially, is now highly allergic to it, and also to mangoes, which contain a similar oil. “I get this awful looking rash all over the bottom of my face,” she said. “It’s called mango mouth.”

The fact that these two papers got set up as point-counterpoint could distract from understanding the bigger picture, Schlesinger said.

“We know that a lot of plants grow faster at high CO2, and vines are among the best at that, and poison ivy’s a vine, and we know that CO2 is rising,” he said. “If someone were to look at this and criticize it, I’d say, ‘what more do you want?'”

What is well known, Schlesinger added, is that vines, such as kudzu and honeysuckle, grow exceptionally well under high CO2 conditions.

Development also fuels poison ivy’s growth, he said, by creating more roadside edges, which the weed loves. The plant doesn’t do well in deep shade, he said.

“Poison ivy is probably an extreme example of a plant responding to high CO2,” he said.

There are medical consequences linked to the CO2 phenomenon, too. More plants produce more pollen, which means more particles to get lodged in the lungs of people who suffer from emphysema, hay fever and asthma.

The increase in woody vines is particularly threatening to the role that trees play in tempering climate change. Vines like kudzu, for example, can smother the trees that are pulling carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

“I’ve driven miles and miles of highway, looking out at a green carpet of kudzu,” Mohan said. “We could be changing the whole structure of biomes with these crazy, crazy vines. It’s almost like a sci-fi movie. This ‘Little Biome of Horrors.'”

Correction: The map in an earlier version of this post had poison oak missing from several states where it is present, including Oregon, Washington, Nevada.

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Is Poison Ivy Getting Nastier?

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