August 25, 2019

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

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

Meet the native: Poison Ivy

Few would guess that this native plant of disrepute is in the same family as tasty cashews and pistachios. Poison ivy is typically seen clambering up trees with adventitious roots that sprout from aerial parts of the stem. The key to identification is poison ivys trifoliate arrangement, in which leaflets are present in groups of three.

Some other climbing vines are mistaken for poison ivy in Florida, like Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia); however, this look-alike presents leaflets in groups of five instead. To avoid confusion, remember the rhyme, Leaves of three, let them be!

Although nearly everyone knows to steer clear of poison ivy, a substantial percentage of people do not develop a rash upon contact. People who are allergic to poison ivy recoil from its touch to hopefully prevent an itchy or blistering condition caused by its sap. While it seems no one would dare experiment with poison ivys juices, it served as an ink in the past since its initial yellow color darkens upon drying.

Many people may overlook the fact that poison ivy fulfills a role in local food webs. Plants just sprouting from the ground that we may tromp upon are grazed by deer. White flowers, though visually insignificant to us, bloom on older vines and attract honeybees for pollination. The resulting fruits are devoured by songbirds in need of extra energy during tough winters. This is also the season to easily identify poison ivy since some red-tinted leaves blink among drabber foliage like festive lights.

Andee Naccarato, Department of Education and Conservation, Naples Botanical Garden

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Meet the native: Poison Ivy

Goats Bring National Recognition to Reading Elementary School

The fifth-graders at Reading, Vt., Elementary School, all six of them, may be small in number. Yet in developing an eco-friendly solution to removing the poison ivy at their school, they’ve embodied the famous Margaret Mead quote that hangs in their classroom: that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.

That’s not to overlook the efforts of Sadie, Izzy and Happy, the three Boer goats who have consumed the poison ivy leaves on the school playground. But Abigail Merseal, Hayley Mullins, Kit Oney, Nevaeh Sullivan, Nick Bishop and Sam Mitchell evaluated the cost-efficiency and environmental impact of each plan, came up with the idea of using goats, and approached the principal and the Reading School Board for permission to let goats graze on the school grounds.

Not only have the goats gone a long way in eradicating the poison ivy problem, but the fifth-graders’ eco-conscious project contributed to Reading Elementary being named a Green Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. Collins’ class travels to Burlington today to be recognized by Gov. Peter Shumlin as a recipient of the Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence. And the class is currently raising the $4,000 needed for a trip to Washington, D.C., to be recognized with all 64 schools nationwide that received the Green Ribbon designation, awarded to schools that adopt energy efficient and environmentally savvy practices.

Besides the addition of the goats to the school’s ecosystem, Reading has a school garden where vegetables are raised for the cafeteria and food scraps are composted, and the school’s third- and fourth-grade class built a covered bridge over a stream that connects the school to a nearby woodlands area, used for environmental education.

The Green Ribbon designation has given a boost in morale to the small elementary school, which in the past has been targeted for closure.

“It not only validates the importance of the school in our community, it validates the importance of having children in a community school,” said Principal Lou Lafasciano, known as “Dr. Lou” around the school. “That community spirit is alive and well. That’s the kind of school everybody wants their child in.”

The poison ivy problem on the Reading Elementary playground could have been improved with a chemical solution, but that was not a road the fifth-graders wanted to take. “This was a wetland,” said fifth-grader Kit Oney. “And if we put chemicals in there, it would have killed a lot of animals.”

Instead, the students considered several different eradication methods that would not be harmful to the land and creatures around the school, or the students and faculty who spend their days there. They ruled out covering the poison ivy with black plastic, and pouring a vinegar and soapy water solutions and boiling water over the weed. A Google search for “cute ways to eradicate poison ivy” yielded information about using goats, who have special enzymes that allow them to safely eat the plant.

They were further encouraged when Dr. Lou told them that he’d heard on Vermont Public Radio of how Stephen Brooks, the cemetery commissioner in Charlotte, Vt., was deploying goats to ameliorate the poison ivy in the town’s cemeteries. The students took it upon themselves to call Brooks and gather information about implementing a similar program.

Finding a group of goats was no trouble . Malisa Williams, the sister of the third- and fourth-grade teacher at Reading, raises goats, but needed to let her land recover from their grazing for a few months. “She was willing to let her goats go for six weeks in the fall,” said fifth-grader Abigail Merseal. So Sadie, Izzy and Happy found new homes at the Reading Elementary playground, penned in by an electric fence, and with all the poison ivy they could want.

More difficult was compiling their research for a presentation to the Reading School Board, in order to secure permission to bring the goats to the school. They had to figure out what possible arguments board members might raise, and come up with alternate plans in case any part of their proposal was rejected. “It was — how should I put this …” Sam Mitchell began.

“Nervewracking,” Nick Bishop interjected.

“Good one,” Sam continued. “We were nervous, but we did a good job.” At present, the goats have consumed one-and-a-half acres of poison ivy on the school grounds, and the students have received a grant for $907 from the Woodstock Union High School Foundation to purchase supplies like a goat shelter to keep the goats at the school.

And, if the class manages to raise $4,000 in the coming weeks, they’ll travel to the White House with the other Green Ribbon School recipients; about $3,500 has been raised thus far

“A little class is going to Washington, D.C.,” said fifth-grader Nevaeh Sullivan. “If we were at some other school, this probably would never happen.”

To make that trip happen, though, the class is once again looking to the community to lend a hand. To donate, visit www.razoo.com/story/Green-Goat-5th-Graders-Go-To-Washington.


Susannah Howard, a sophomore at Thetford Academy, was accepted to MedQuest 2013, a program at Lyndon State College that exposes students to health care career options through job shadowing and training in medical procedures like CPR. MedQuest 2013 will be held from July 14 to 19.

∎ Yuzhou “Oscar” Lin, a student at Thetford Academy, was named one of nine statewide winners in the Vermont State Mathematics Coalition’s 20th annual Talent Search. Lin was honored with fellow recipients at a dinner in South Burlington last month and is invited to attend the Governor’s Institute in Mathematical Sciences this summer at no charge.


Kelsey L. Jordan of Lebanon graduated from Northeastern University with a bachelor’s degree in biology, magna cum laude.

School Notes appears most Tuesdays. Email news and announcements to schoolnotes@vnews.com.

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Goats Bring National Recognition to Reading Elementary School

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