You have waited and waited and finally the day is here. Whatever the occasion, a camping trip, a hunting trip, or even a day trip out for a little hiking. The difference between a great trip with fond memories and a trip with memories you would rather forget can be articulated in several ways. One thing is certain, if you or a member of your party encounters some form of poison plant, for them the latter of the two memories will be the one forever assigned to the outing.

Poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac all contain urushiol, the oil that actually causes the allergic reaction in individuals when they come in contact with it. racunto  Many individuals have heard the rhyme, “leaves of three beware of me”, or some variation thereof in order to remember how poison ivy and poison oak present themselves in the forest. Poison ivy can grow as a green shrub or as a green vine. Each leaf is comprised of three leaflets, or smaller leaves that are all attached to the plant from one stem. Poison oak also has leaves of three and can present itself as a shrub or a vine. Poison oak also varies in color from green to red and in the late spring greenish-white flowers can be seen on the plant. Poison sumac does not fit the “leaves of three” configuration of poison ivy or poison oak. Poison sumac generally presents seven to eleven leaflets on each stem. The leaflets are alternating and the stem is red. In the fall the leaves turn various colors ranging from bright yellow to deep purple.

There are some basic precautions that can be taken to guard against exposure to poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac on your hunting or camping trip. Wearing heavy clothing such as long pants and long sleeve shirt may help prevent exposure. Barrier creams or skin treatments can also help. Nothing is as helpful as learning about the plants, what they look like, and then actively being on the look out for them to prevent exposure.

In the event that you are exposed to poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac on your hunting or camping trip, wash the effected area with soap and warm water as soon as possible. Vitamin C is a widely accepted treatment; oral antihistamines may also help with the itching. If you remain camping or hunting after exposure, milkweed is found in many places poison ivy is found. Treating the effected area with milkweed has been reported to prevent the itchiness associated with exposure and limit the spread of the rash. Rhubarb and aloe vera can also be used in a similar fashion.

There are many myths about poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. Among them is the myth that poison ivy is contagious. This is not the case, however, urushiol can be spread from person to person by touch. If the affected person has not washed off the urushiol from the initial exposure this can be transferred by contact. The notion that you need not worry about dead plants is also untrue. Urushiol can remain on dead plants for as long as five years.

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