2 of the most prominent plants in America belonging to the family toxicodendron radicans (non climbing poison ivy) and (toxicodendron rydbergii) climbing variety.
This plant releases a concentrated oil known as urushiol which even in the smallest dosage can cause massive inflammatory damage to exposed flesh.
Despite common belief POISON IVY IS NOT CONTAGIOUS after the infection has been created. It cannot be passed on if the wound is touched, nor does the secretion from the wound cause infection it is merely water, small doses of potassium, and puss. Poison ivy is noted for its 3 distinct leaves and can be found in any environment at any time of the year. typically it occurs in large patches near the perimeter of fields and overgrowth and is most likely to be found in a sunny environment as opposed to deep inside a canopy woods.
Poison ivy should not be handled in any way and under no circumstances should you try to remove the weed with your bare hands. the oil is more potent at the roots and stems then it is on the leaves. Do not mow or burn over the plant as it will release the oil in a vapor form which can then enter your lungs and cause severe inflammation:
If you know you just had contact with the plant DO NOT TOUCH ANY PART OF YOUR BODY: the oil is spread after contact this way. Immediately wash the infected area with COLD WATER (as cold water closes your pores and keeps the oil from entering, warm water will open the pores) use soap, and alcohol base to remove the oil.
The infected area will develop typically in a day with mild itching, and slight burning. It will appear as small red splotches, or red skin. As the wound evolves it will become progressively worse and begin to blister, itch dramatically, and begin to secrete puss.
The way to defeat poison ivy is to dry it out: if you are overcome with severe burning and itching take a bath with a large amount of baking soda, this will bring down the itch considerably for a period of time. Avoid scratching the wound as this will disrupt the healing process as well as increase the chance of scaring.
if the problem pursuits you should consult a doctor: typically the doctor might provide an inoculation of a cortisone based product to help with drying the wound but for the most part it is successfully treated with Methylprednisolone which aids the adrenal gland with production to bring down the inflammation: Methylprednisolone is perscription in a packet system where the patient will take a 6 pill dosage on the first, a 5 pill on the second, and so on.
Immnuinty agains the oil is frequently climed but remember that the immunity against the oil is gained and lost and vice versa so never assume that you cant get it. In a heavy enough form any one can be infected by the oil
-POISON IVY is not contagious, only the urushiol is and it is discarded around 2 hours after it is initially contracted
-DO NOT initially wash with warm water, only cold water
-NEVER handle poison ivy, especially by the root or stem
-The oil itself is around all year, even in the winter so constantly be aware if you go hiking