Poison ivy is a plant that can cause severe skin inflammation or contact dermatitis. It contains a sap that triggers delayed skin irritation.
Toxicodendron radicans, commonly known as poison ivy, is native to North America and belongs to the cashew family.
Poison ivy normally grows on the edge of woodlands, where there is plenty of sunlight. Since it is a shrub, it is generally of low height. It produces green berries, and its green-yellow flowers typically bloom in the spring.
Poison ivy has compound leaves with three leaflets that range from light green to dark green in color. Each leaf grows on its own stem and connects to the main vine. There are no thorns. It tends to climb poles and trees.
There are two popular mnemonic rhymes for identifying poison ivy: “Leaflets three, leave it be” and “hairy vine, no friend of mine.”
It has been found that 85% of the US population have allergic reactions to poison ivy. If these people touch the plant, they will often develop a rash.
Although the remaining 15% may not react to poison ivy, those who have never reacted to it should still be cautious, as repeated contact can make it worse.
The poison ivy sap is present in the leaves, stems, and roots.
Sap contains a compound called urushiol, which is a sticky, pale yellow substance that can also be found in poison oak and poison sumac.
Some people may develop a blistering rash if this oil touches their skin.
People can react to urushiol after:
- Touching the plant
- Touching contaminated objects, such as shoes and clothing
- Inhaling smoke from a burning poison ivy plant (this is the most dangerous type of exposure)
Facts and Myths about Poison Ivy
1. Leaves of Three, Let It Be
Myth! Poison ivy is the one with three leaves, one on each side and one in the middle; however, there are many other 3 leaflet plants which are harmless; if you blindly followed this, you could miss out on plants with edible berries, such as strawberries and raspberries! So you must remember that poison ivy has a glossy with smooth or notched edges. Poison oak resembles an oak; the leaves are larger and rounder than poison ivy leaves. The leaf surface is also textured and hairy. The leaves may grow in groups of three, five, or seven leaves. Poison sumac leaves grow in clusters of seven to 13 leaves, with one by itself at the end. Not only should you be wary of poison ivy, but also of poison oak and poison sumac.
2. Rash Appearing Right Away
Myth! Rashes typically form within 24 to 72 hours of touching the plant, depending on the area it was exposed to. Even though it normally peaks within a week, it can last for three weeks or more. Poison ivy, oak, or sumac rash usually appears as red patches or streaks of raised blisters. The rash usually doesn’t spread if the poison urushiol is still present.
3. Do not touch the leaves. You will be fine!
Myth! It is generally safe to breathe where poisonous plants grow; however, if you burn them in your yard, the smoke can cause problems. Burning poison ivy leaves releases chemicals that can irritate your eyes, nose, and lungs. A doctor may prescribe steroids for your symptoms if you inadvertently inhaled the smoke.
4. Clothes keep you protected
Fact! Protect your skin by wearing a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, gloves, and closed shoes if you are going to any area where they grow. Wear gloves when handling bagged mulch or bales of pine straw. Tie up your pants or tuck your pants into your boots. Keep one pair of shoes for outdoor use and store it outside. Try using a lotion that contains bentoquatam. It acts as a barrier that will protect your skin from exposure to urushiol.
5. The Oil Remains on Your Skin
Fact! Urushiol adheres quickly to the skin. Wash the area immediately if you know you have been exposed to poison ivy, oak, or sumac. If there’s no water available, you can use rubbing alcohol or alcohol wipes to remove it. Keep the area cool, dry, and clean as much as possible. Clean your boots or shoes and wash your clothes. Rinse off any garden tools you might have used.
6. The Rash Can Be Contagious
Myth! It is impossible for you to catch poison ivy, oak, or sumac if someone in your household has it (and if you are directly exposed to the blisters). However, even if you’ve never had a rash from one of these plants, it doesn’t mean you’re already safe. Around 85% of people are allergic to urushiol. It can affect anyone at any age.
7. You Do Not Need to See a Doctor
Myth! Seek medical attention if the rash is close to your eyes or is widespread on your body. If necessary, your doctor may prescribe oral medications that will reduce swelling and itching. Go to the emergency room if you have any severe reactions like nausea, fever, shortness of breath, extreme soreness at the rash site, or swollen lymph nodes. Call 911 if you have difficulty breathing.
8. Pets do not get the rash
Fact! A dog or cat’s fur usually protects its skin from urushiol. However, it can linger on the fur and rub off on you when exposed. If your pet explores the area where these plants grow, wash them with soap and cool water. Don’t forget to wear gloves!
9. Use Any Method to Control Plants
Myth! Never burn poison ivy, oak, or sumac. Particles of urushiol will remain in the smoke and can irritate your eyes, nose, and respiratory tract, and can also come into contact with your skin. Dress appropriately and dig up the plants, getting as much root as possible. Put it in a plastic trash bag and throw it away. Some plant killers may work, but read the label carefully and use it at the right time of year. Stay away from dead plants since urushiol continues to be active even when they die.
PLACES TO AVOID POISON IVY
Poison ivy grows throughout the United States except Alaska, Hawaii, and parts of the West Coast. Poison ivy grows as a vine or small shrub that trails along the ground or climbs on low plants, trees, and poles. The leaves have three glossy leaflets with toothed or smooth edges. Leaves are reddish in spring, green in summer, and yellow, orange, or red in fall. The plant produces greenish-white flowers and whitish-yellow berries.
Are there areas where these plants are not present?
- Since none of these plants grow well above 4000 ft (1219 m) in elevation, higher elevations such as the Rocky Mountains are relatively free of them.
- Some of these plants grow well in deserts, but only along the banks of rivers, streams, and ponds. Also, heavy rains can make a dormant plant grow again.
- Hawaii does not have these plants, but the island does have other plants that cause a rash. For example, mango trees grow on the islands, and the skin of mangoes contains the same allergenic oil (urushiol).
- Alaska is not home to these plants, and they are rare in any rainforest in Washington or Oregon.
HOW TO DISTINGUISH POISON IVY FROM POISON OAK AND SUMAC?
Poison ivy, oak, and sumac can be found throughout the continental United States. Poison oak grows west of the Rocky Mountains, poison ivy is typically found east of the Rocky Mountains, and poison sumac in the southeastern part of the United States.
The appearance of the plants is dependent upon the season and the environment. All of these plants have small white, tan, cream, or yellow berries in the fall. These berries help distinguish them from similarly shaped but harmless plants.
After the leaves have fallen off, these plants can be identified by the black color on areas where the oil in the plant (urushiol) has oxidized.
Poison ivy usually has three broad, spoon-shaped leaves, but it can have more. The phrase, “Leaves of three? Let it be.” may help you remember what it usually looks like. It grows as a climbing vine or as a low, spreading vine that stretches through grass (more common in eastern states) or as a shrub (more common in northern states, Canada, and Great Lakes regions). Poison ivy grows along rivers, lakefronts, and ocean beaches with bright red leaves and white- or cream-colored berries in autumn.
Poison oak is most common in the western United States, although it is also found in eastern states. It rarely occurs in midwestern states. Its leaves look like oak leaves, usually having three leaflets per group, but sometimes up to seven. These plants grow as vines or shrubs.
Poison sumac is very rare as compared to poison ivy and poison oak. It’s found in swampy, wooded areas, such as in Florida and other southeastern states. It’s also found in wet, wooded areas in the northern United States. There are 7 to 13 leaflets on each leaf stem. The leaves have smooth edges and pointed tips. It grows as a shrub or small tree.
WHAT IS POISON IVY RASH?
Poison ivy and other poison plant rash cannot be spread from person to person. However, they can be picked up from plant oil on clothing, pets, garden tools, and other items that have come into contact with these plants. Plant oil remains (sometimes for years) on virtually any surface until washed off with water or rubbing alcohol.
If the plant oil touches the skin, a person will only experience a localized rash, not a whole body rash. If the rash appears over time rather than all at once, it may appear to spread. Such differences are either due to different absorption rates of plant oils on various parts of the body or repeated exposure to contaminated objects or oil trapped under the fingernails. Even if the blisters burst, the fluid in the blister is not plant oil and does not spread the rash further.
Signs and symptoms of a poison ivy rash include:
- Difficulty breathing if you’ve inhaled the smoke from burning poison ivy
The rash often develops in a straight line because of the way the plant brushes against your skin. But if you develop a rash after touching urushiol on a piece of clothing or your pet’s fur, the rash could be more spread out. The oil can also be transferred to other parts of your body with your fingers. The reaction usually develops 12 to 48 hours after exposure and lasts for two to three weeks. The severity of the rash depends on the amount of urushiol that gets on your skin.
Seek immediate medical attention if:
- You are having difficulty breathing (due to smoke from the burning poison ivy)
- There is a severe or widespread of rash in your body
- The swelling on your skin continues
- This rash affects your eyes, mouth, or genitals
- A blister is oozing pus
- If you develop a fever greater than 100 F (37.8 C)
- The rash doesn’t go away within a few weeks
HOW WILL YOU BE EXPOSED TO POISON IVY?
Outdoor activities can put you at higher risk of exposure to poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac and can thus increase your risk of a rash:
- Cable or telephone line installation
- Fishing from the shoreline
THE MOST VULNERABLE TO POISON IVY
Workers who may be exposed to poison ivy include:
- foresters and farmers
- gardeners and landscapers
- construction workers
These person can reduce their risk of having a poison ivy reaction by:
- Identifying the plant so they know to avoid it
- Wearing long pants, socks, and gloves when working or doing outdoor activities
- Clean all clothing and shoes after being outdoors if there is poison ivy
- Washing the skin with water immediately after possible exposure and rinsing thoroughly
- After possible exposure, scrub under the nails
- Pets should be cleaned thoroughly if they are in touch with poison ivy, as they can carry urushiol on their skin and fur
- Pets can also be sensitive to the toxin, so people should keep them away from poison ivy as much as possible.
Skin care products are available that will act as a barrier before exposure and to provide relief afterward. Applying a skin cream containing bentoquatam (IvyBlock) before exposure will help prevent urushiol from damaging the skin
Homeopathic products, such as Be gone Poison Ivy, claim to relieve the symptoms of a poison ivy reaction. However, the National Institutes of Health note that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not evaluated this medication because there is no scientific evidence to support its use.
POISON IVY PREVENTION
Follow these steps to prevent poison ivy rash:
- Avoid these plants. Learn how to identify poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac in all seasons. When hiking or engaging in other activities that may expose you to these plants, stay on cleared pathways. Make sure you wear socks, pants, and long sleeves when outdoors. If camping, make sure you pitch your tent away from these plants.
- Pets should be kept from running through wooded areas so urushiol won’t stick to their fur, which you may then touch.
- If necessary, wear protective clothing. Wear socks, boots, long pants, long sleeve shirts, and heavy gloves to protect your skin.
- Identify and remove poison oak, poison sumac, and poison ivy from your garden or yard. The only way to get rid of such plants is to apply an herbicide or pull them out of the ground, including the roots, while wearing heavy gloves. Afterward, remove the gloves carefully. Don’t burn poison ivy or related plants because the smoke will carry the urushiol.
- Within 30 minutes of exposure to urushiol, wash your skin or your pet’s fur with soap and water, gently removing harmful resin. Wash under your fingernails too. Washing after an hour or so can help reduce the severity of the rash.
- Put on some long rubber gloves and give your pet a bath if you suspect your pet has been exposed to urushiol.
- Wash contaminated objects. If you’ve come into contact with poison ivy, wash your clothing promptly in warm soapy water — using a washing machine would be ideal. Handle contaminated clothing carefully to avoid transferring urushiol to your skin (or clothing), furniture, rugs, or appliances.
- It’s also a good idea to wash everything that has been contaminated with plant oil – such as outdoor gear, garden tools, jewelry, and even shoelaces. Urushiol can remain potent for years, so if you put away a contaminated jacket without washing it and take it out a year later, it may still cause an allergic reaction.
- Use a barrier cream. Use over-the-counter products that protect the skin from the oily resin that causes poison ivy rash.
POISON IVY ESSENTIAL OIL REMEDY
Essential oils can be used to treat a poison ivy rash due to their soothing, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. They are all natural, so you can avoid nasty chemicals that are often found in OTC medications. As essential oils are quite potent and can cause irritation if not used correctly, you should dilute them before applying on the skin.
Here is the List of Poison Ivy Essential Oil Remedies:
1. Chamomile Essential Oil
You may be familiar with chamomile tea for relaxation, but did you know that chamomile essential oil can also soothe the skin? Chamomile has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that work to clear the skin and ease irritation.
They recommend using a washcloth as a compress when using chamomile essential oil as a poison ivy treatment. Add two to three drops of chamomile essential oil to a bowl of room temperature water, submerge the washcloth and wring out excess water before applying to the affected area.
2. Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Known for its antiseptic properties, eucalyptus essential oil is great for cleaning the rash as it will help to remove the residual urushiol, decreasing further inflammation. Also, it will help to hydrate the skin, which will prevent flaky skin that occurs towards the end of the healing process.
To use eucalyptus oil for poison ivy, add two drops of eucalyptus oil to a bowl of room temperature water. Using a washcloth, soak it in warm water, wring out excess water, and apply to the affected area. Repeat two to three times as needed.
Since eucalyptus essential oil is used to moisturize the skin, it is thus recommended to use eucalyptus when the poison ivy rash goes away (helps with poison ivy relief and to promote skin health).
3. Lavender Essential Oil
The relaxing properties of lavender essential oil are well known, but the oil also has incredible healing capabilities. If your rash is quite painful and inflamed, lavender essential oil is a great option because it contains anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that help to relieve pain.
Unless you have sensitive skin, there is no need to dilute lavender essential oil. Simply apply a few drops to the affected area and massage.
Lavender is calming and is a natural anti-inflammatory. Applying it topically can help reduce swelling, and lavender acts as a natural analgesic to reduce pain.
4. Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea tree essential oil is a wonderful antiseptic, and it is often used to treat dermatitis as it effectively disinfects and cleans the skin. Your poison ivy rash can be kept clean using tea tree oil, thus preventing infection as it heals.
You should always dilute tea tree essential oil prior to application, since its potency can cause inflammation. Adding a drop of essential oil to 0.17 fl.oz of carrier oil will do the trick. Apply the diluted tea tree oil directly on the affected area.
Tea tree oil can act as a natural antiseptic and also help prevent secondary infections that may result from scratching rashes..
5. Peppermint Essential Oil
A poison ivy rash can be soothed with peppermint essential oil, which is known for its cooling properties. It not only smells great, but it also works to help reduce skin redness and irritation.
We recommend using peppermint essential oil in a compress. Just add two drops of peppermint oil to a bowl of warm water, soak your washcloth, squeeze out the excess water, and apply directly to the affected area.
6. Copaiba Essential Oil
Copaiba essential oil isn’t a common oil, but it is one of my favorites. Copaiba contains beta-caryophyllene, a substance that interacts with cannabinoid receptors on the surface of your skin. Copaiba is a natural anti-inflammatory, which could help reduce rashes and relieve pain.
Also, as a gentle oil, copaiba is safe to use on sensitive skin, promoting healing and soothing irritation.
7. Calendula (Calendula officinalis)
The calendula or marigold flower has been used for centuries to sooth irritated skin. A 2011 study concluded that calendula helped with symptoms of contact dermatitis.
Additionally, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that calendula’s soothing properties helped reduce skin redness, dryness, itching, and pain.
8. Juniper Berry Essential Oil
Although less popular than tea tree oil, juniper berry essential oil is also a natural antimicrobial. It also soothes the skin and relieves itching. (I personally love this oil for other uses as well.)
9. German Chamomile and Roman Chamomile Essential Oils
Though slightly different, both German chamomile and Roman chamomile essential oils are excellent for the skin. Both are gentle, which is important for irritated skin. Both help reduce inflammation and promote healing.
10. Pine Essential Oil
Pine essential oil is commonly used in soaps and skin care products, and it is a great essential oil to use for poison ivy rashes. It is said to promote skin healing, so use it once your skin heals.
11. Myrrh Essential Oil
Even though it’s not a common oil, myrrh is one of the best essential oils for poison ivy. It’s anti-inflammatory and also works as an analgesic to reduce pain and itching.
12. Geranium Essential Oil
When you use Geranium essential oil topically, it can stop the production of histamines that cause itching.
DoTerra has an effective and high-quality essential oil for poison ivy or any other purpose. DoTERRA was created in 2008 with the intention of sharing the highest quality essential oils with the world. Having witnessed the incredible benefits that can be gained from using these precious resources, a group of healthcare and business professionals set out to fulfill this mission. The business was named doTERRA, a Latin derivative meaning “gift of the earth.”
DoTERRA founders recognized that sharing essential oils is an unusual experience, and thus a suitable sales model was created. To facilitate personal experiences with its essential oils, doTERRA relies on a direct selling model that allows distributors to interact with customers instead of mass-marketing. As a result, individuals are able to experience the incredible power of essential oils while developing and strengthening personal relationships. As a result of this model, individuals and families now have the opportunity to achieve their dream of financial independence. Today, over two million Wellness Advocates use and sell doTERRA products worldwide.
Using essential oils safely
Please follow the instructions provided when using essential oils to ensure that you do not further irritate your skin. Essential oils are potent and cannot be used directly on the skin without diluting it. While most poison ivy rashes do not require a visit to the doctor, some people may experience more severe reactions. If you are experiencing severe pain or if your symptoms are worsening, please see your doctor right away.
LIST OF DIY ESSENTIAL OILS FOR POISON IVY
Since we already know the best essential oils for poison ivy, we can now make our own homemade remedies to treat poison ivy reactions.
DIY Essential Oil Blend for Poison Ivy Relief
Use this blend at least twice a day for best results. Stop using it immediately if you experience any side effects.
- One teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
- One teaspoon of witch hazel
- One teaspoon of aloe vera juice or gel
- One tablespoon of fractionated coconut oil
- Two drops of peppermint oil
- Two drops of lavender oil
- Two drops of roman chamomile oil
- Two drops of tea tree oil
- All ingredients should be mixed together in a dark glass or non-BPA bowl.
- Apply the solution with a clean cotton swab as needed.
Homemade Poison Ivy Gel with Essential Oils for Poison Ivy
I used these oils for this gel: lavender to promote healing, copaiba for topical pain relief, and peppermint because it reduces itching and has a cooling sensation.
This is a two-step process, so there is no amount for the apple cider vinegar. You will use it separately, so do not mix it with the aloe and essential oils.
- Two ounces of aloe vera gel
- 18 drops of peppermint essential oil
- 18 drops of copaiba essential oil
- 18 drops of lavender essential oil
- Apple cider vinegar
- Combine the aloe vera gel and essential oils. Stir well.
- Use apple cider vinegar on the rash. Use a cotton ball and discard after each use. Allow to dry completely.
- Use the poison ivy gel on the affected areas.
- This homemade poison ivy gel can be used several times a day for quick relief.
Poison Ivy Relief Spray Recipe with Essential Oils for Poison Ivy
The shelf life of this poison ivy relief spray recipe is about two weeks when stored in the refrigerator (thus, prepare this spray only when you need it). The coolness from the fridge will feel great on your skin.
- Three ounces of distilled water
- One ounce of raw apple cider vinegar
- One ounce of apricot kernel oil
- Five drops of lavender essential oil
- Five drops of copaiba essential oil
- Three drops of peppermint essential oil
- Two drops of pine essential oil
- Shake the apricot kernel oil and essential oils together in an eight-ounce spray bottle. Add the rest of the ingredients and shake again.
- This does not have an emulsifier, so the oil and water will separate. Shake before using. Spray on the rashes as needed.
DIY Poison Ivy Compress with Essential Oils for Poison Ivy
This compress can be applied directly to the rashes. Cut old towels or an old t-shirt into smaller compresses if necessary.
- One cup of warm water
- One tablespoon of apricot kernel oil
- Use five drops of any of the above-mentioned oils
- Mix the apricot kernel oil and essential oils in a bowl.
- Add a cup of warm water.
- Stir well.
- Put a towel or washcloth in the water and apply it directly to your poison ivy rash. Do this several times a day.
SIMPLE REMEDIES FOR POISON IVY RASH
Here are other home remedies that can help reduce irritation and itching while the rash heals:
1. Menthol cream
Essential oils from peppermint have a cooling effect on irritated skin. Peppermint essential oils can be made or bought over-the-counter.
Dilute the essential oil in lotion or oil so it does not irritate the skin.
2. Aloe vera
For skin affected by a poison ivy rash, this soothing burn treatment can reduce itching and inflammation.
3. Colloidal oatmeal
Take an oatmeal bath to soothe rashes and soothe itchy skin. Finely ground oats can coat the skin and temporarily eliminate itching.
4. Witch hazel
Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) may ease itching, swelling, and burning on irritated skin.
5. Apple cider vinegar
It’s not yet clear why apple cider vinegar works, but anecdotal evidence suggests that the vinegar solution helps dry up urushiol, which can speed up the healing process.
6. Be cool
Cold is the key, as you might have noticed. Do not expose the affected area to hot water as much as possible. This will further aggravate the itching.
Histamines are chemicals in the body that cause allergy symptoms, including itching. Antihistamines are commonly used to treat allergic reactions. However, many antihistamines make you sleepy, so they are best used before bed.
A study from 1996 recommends applying topical antihistamine directly to the affected area to avoid side effects associated with oral antihistamines.
An anti-itch cream is another common way to soothe itchy skin. Get one that contains at least one percent hydrocortisone. This cream helps calm itchy, inflamed skin, while also inhibiting inflammatory responses within the body. You should only use this for a short time.
Hydrocortisone cream is available over-the-counter.
Some studies indicate that antidepressants might also be able to help with itching. Some of these drugs promotes the release of serotonin, which can relax the receptors in your body that cause you to itch. This type of treatment is typically used in chronic cases of itching.
8. Stop scratching!
Scratching is the normal response to itchy skin, but it won’t help. In fact, it may tear the skin and prevent it from healing; it may even cause infection.
Make sure not to scratch your skin. Wear comfortable clothes that don’t irritate your skin, and keep your fingernails properly trimmed.
TO WRAP IT UP, HERE ARE THE THINGS YOU SHOULD TAKE NOTE ABOUT POISON IVY
1. Poison ivy is hard to identify.
You’ve likely heard of the saying “Leaves of three, let it be,” and that’s certainly helpful when it comes to spotting poison ivy. The plant starts out red in the spring, turns green in the summer, and then turns yellow, orange, or red in the fall. It’s not the only three-leafed plant. Boxelder, Virginia creepers, and strawberries all have three leaves per stem and are often mistaken for poison ivy.
There are dozens of species of poison ivy. Some have small leaves; others have big leaves. Some grow as ground cover, others as low shrubs, and others as climbing vines. The leaves can be toothed or smooth. They may or may not be glossy. Please be very cautious while you are outside.
2. Some even grow flowers and berries!
During the summer months, the weed produces clusters of yellow-green flowers, which later turn into whitish fruits. Good, right? Only if you’re a bird who enjoys nibbling on these berries. In the winter, the leaves disappear, making it especially challenging to identify the plant.
3. A handful of states have no poison ivy.
Poison ivy is a menace in most of the U.S. — except (according to the CDC) Alaska, California, and Hawaii. (The East Coast-West Coast rivalry just tipped heavily in favor of the West Coast.)
4. The rash isn’t contagious.
The rash is not contagious. It occurs whenever skin touches urushiol, the substance found in poison ivy that triggers the immune system to attack the skin. No matter how bad the rash is and the blisters break, the fluid inside the blisters isn’t contagious; there’s no urushiol in it.
It’s common for people to scratch a rash so frequently that oil accumulates under their fingernails.
5. Not everyone’s allergic to it.
Some people are not affected by poison ivy at all. About 15 percent of the population is immune to the effects of urushiol.
6. If you have had a rash before, be careful of the next one.
A previous rash from poison ivy does not mean you will be immune to it next time. Instead, it makes your next rash more pronounced because your immune system has gotten better at recognizing urushiol.
7. Your pet is not at risk.
Only humans and a few primates are allergic to urushiol. Every other animal is immune to it. You still need to be careful with your pets, though. If they’ve been in contact with poison ivy; their fur may have gotten some of its oil on it, which can trigger a rash if it touches your skin.
8. Mangoes are related to poison ivy.
Poison ivy is related to mangoes because it belongs to the Anacardiaceae family of plants. The fruit and leaves both contain urushiol, which is why people who eat the fruit unshaven will sometimes get a blister rash on their lips.
9. There are natural ways to kill it.
There is no need to use chemical herbicides like Roundup or Brush-B-Gone to get rid of poison ivy. In fact, the most effective method is to pull it out. The trick is to find the roots, which means digging down a few inches — at least six — and then reaching inside to pull them out.
Remember that you should never burn poison ivy. You may be tempted to do so in order to give it up for good, but the oil can go airborne in the smoke and land on your exposed skin and inhaled into the lungs
10. It can stay potent for years.
You can find urushiol on all kinds of surfaces and it can linger for years, so wash your gardening clothing and tools. Even though the poison ivy leaves are dead and there are no leaves left, there is still urushiol in the roots and stems. Hence, during the winter, chopping wood that once had poison ivy growing can be dangerous
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