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GardenSMART :: How To Identify And Avoid Poison Ivy In Early Spring

How To Identify And Avoid Poison Ivy In Early Spring

By Daniel Boelman RN, BSN, Zanfel
Photographs courtesy of Zanfel

In some parts of the country poison ivy exposure season (along with spring) has arrived, while in other areas it is still several weeks away. Spring yard clean up is always a risk because the newly emerged poison ivy leaves are still small, and they are a different color and shape than what we are used to.

As poison ivy buds break out of dormancy in early spring, their small leaves are red and have a “waxy” appearance. While this can make them stand out against the green background of grass and other plants, their small size makes them easy to miss.

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Check out this series of pictures, which show the evolution of the newly emerged poison ivy leaves:

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GardenSMART Article Image

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Those newly formed poison ivy leaves are more fragile than at other times of the year. When you’re weeding, raking, or clearing brush it’s easy to break them and be exposed to the plant’s rash-producing oil, which is called urushiol. If you notice you’ve been exposed to poison ivy you only have about 15 minutes to wash the oil off your skin using regular soap and water (liquid dish soap is a great option). If it’s been more than 15 minutes the urushiol oil has begun to absorb into your skin, bond with your skin cells, and will start to set in motion a totally miserable allergic skin reaction.

Zanfel Poison Ivy, Oak & Sumac Wash is an OTC product which can be used to remove urushiol oil from your skin if it’s been more than 15 minutes. This will prevent or greatly reduce the severity of a reaction. If you do end up breaking out with a poison ivy rash, Zanfel also has been clinically shown to remove the poison ivy oil from your skin anytime after outbreak of the rash. Removing the poison ivy oil from your skin during a Zanfel washing will stop the itching, and put your body in a position to quickly heal the rash.

Spring is right around the corner. Be prepared to identify early season poison ivy, and have an effective plan for prevention and treatment of this all too common rash.


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