May 24, 2019

Bad Summer for Poison Ivy

JOPLIN, Mo. — More of us have been outside in the cooler summer in the Ozarks. And that means more of us are encountering a plant that is causing a lot of people trouble this year.

“It’s not fun at all. It itches. It’s hard to sleep when you’re itching,” said Kelli Craigin who suffers from poison ivy.

85% of people in Southwest Missouri will be affected by the three leaf poison ivy plant at some point in their life.

“It can be growing in your flower beds because you won’t even think about it until after you’ve been affected by it,” said Verna Simkins, Missouri Extension.

Poison ivy is found as a shrub or vine in forests, gardens, and along streams.

“Either one has the chemical called Urushiol, which is the poison that causes the irritation and that is so potent that the amount that it takes to cover the head of a pen can cause a rash in 500 people,” said Simkins.

You can get poison ivy by walking through it, touching it, and pulling it.

“Or you can get it even from your dog, if he’s gone through the bushes. Or if you don’t wash your clothes and shoes and gloves immediately, you can be re-infected from a previous contamination,” said Simkins.

You can get a poison ivy rash or skin irritation at any age. Kelli Cragin didn’t display any poison ivy symptoms until she turned 50-years-old.

“I all of a sudden, I started getting a rash and then it just started spreading. And went to the doctor because it just started spreading fast. They told me that it was poison ivy,” said Craigin.

Poison ivy’s cousin, poison oak, has the same symptoms as ivy, but it’s not commonly found in the Southwest Missouri area. Experts say to remember the rule, “leaves of three, let them be.”

(KODE, Joplin)

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Bad Summer for Poison Ivy

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