Poison ivy is arguably the most common of plants that cause skin problems. These poisonous plants have almond-shaped leaves and produce a toxin that causes very irritating rashes when human skin comes into contact with it. This causes a type of irritation known as allergic contact dermatitis, and is usually triggered due to sensitivity to the irritants in the plant. There are other plants that can cause this, such as poison oak and poison sumac, but the ivy variety is the most well-known. For most people, the rash is caused by a resin called urushiol, which the plants produce.
The signs of poison ivy are easy to identify. These include a redness of the exposed area, along with itchiness. Swelling and blisters are also fairly commonly seen. The rash commonly takes the form of a straight line due to the way the plant comes into contact with the skin, but this can vary based on circumstances. Contact with clothing or pet fur that has touched it will affect how the poison – and the subsequent rash – will spread. The itching can be bothersome, but it is rarely a serious problem and there are numerous poison ivy treatment products that can help reduce the irritation.
Contact with the condition
There are a number of ways that someone can come into contact with poison ivy. For most people, it is spread by touching the leaves, roots, or berries of the plants that trigger the rashes. In others, the oil can remain on clothing or fur and the person unknowingly rubs it to other areas. Various items, such as clothing or firewood, may also allow the oil to linger until a human touches it. Inhaling smoke from burning these plants can also cause this problem, and is particularly dangerous because the oil can irritate or injure the eyes and nasal passages.
There are very few possible complications to a poison ivy rash if it is treated properly with natural skin products. However, it is possible to get a secondary bacterial infection if the rash is scratched with dirty fingernails. This can cause pus to start oozing from the blisters, and will generally require prescription antibiotics.
Poison ivy is a common irritation, but not something serious. Many products can help alleviate the problem until the oil no longer has an effect. The urushiol can linger on fur and other items for years and still remain potent, so it is prudent to wash any such things before using them again. Overall, though, this is a problem that can be easily dealt with.