Poison ivy has compound leaves; each leaf is composed of three leaflets. In each set of leaflets, the middle leaflet has a longer stem than the two side leaflets. The stem of the lateral leaflets can be so small that it is almost invisible. The stems of the two lateral leaflets are always directly opposite each other.
Poison ivy (A) usually has three wide teardrop-shaped leaves. It can grow as a climbing or low-spreading vine that extends through grass. It is found everywhere in the United States, except Alaska and Hawaii. It often grows along rivers, lakes, and ocean beaches.
Poison ivy is the only one that always has three leaves, one on each side and one in the center. They are shiny with smooth or slightly jagged edges. Poison oak looks similar, but the leaves are larger and more rounded like an oak leaf. They have a textured, shaggy surface.
There can be groups of three, five or seven leaves. Poison sumac leaves grow in clusters of seven to 13 leaves, with only one at the end. It forms within 24 to 72 hours of contact, depending on where the plant touched it. It usually peaks within a week, but can last up to 3 weeks.
A poison ivy, oak, or sumac rash looks like raised, red blister patches or streaks. The rash usually doesn't spread unless urushiol is still in contact with the skin. It's usually safe to breathe where poisonous plants grow. But if you burn them in your garden, the smoke could cause problems.
When poison ivy leaves burn, they expel chemicals that can bother the eyes, nose, or lungs. You may need to see a doctor if you breathe in the smoke. You will be prescribed steroids to control your symptoms. But using them together with over-the-counter medications can relieve itching and keep you more comfortable.
Once a rash appears, keep it clean, dry and fresh. Calamine lotion, diphenhydramine, or hydrocortisone can help control itching. Cold compresses or baths with baking soda or oatmeal can also relieve a rash. It won't spread the rash, but it can cause scarring or infection.
Your doctor may suggest other treatments for your symptoms. If someone in your household has poison ivy, oak, or sumac, they won't be able to get it, even if they come into contact with the blisters. Just because you've never had a rash from one of these plants doesn't mean you're clear. Most people (about 85%) are allergic to urushiol.
You can be affected by it at any age. Don't burn poison ivy, oak, or sumac. Urushiol particles remain in the smoke and can aggravate the eyes, nose and respiratory tract, and can fall on the skin. Instead, dress appropriately and dig up the plants, pulling out as much root as possible.
Put them in a plastic garbage bag and throw it away. Ask someone else to do this if you are very sensitive to the plant. Read the label carefully and use it at the right time of the year. Be careful: Urushiol remains active, even on dead plants.
When you return to the classroom, anyone who thinks they might have touched poison ivy should wash well with soap and water. However, the most effective method of all is to combine manual and chemical removal to eradicate poison ivy. In some cases, poison ivy leaves may appear deeply furrowed along their edges, imitating other plants such as Virginia creepers or oak leaves. Poison ivy is found throughout North America, with the exception of the far north and parts of southwestern deserts.
As the weather gets warmer and poison ivy continues to mature, older leaves will turn completely green, but new leaf growth will continue to be red. Above are maple seedlings, which can look very similar to poison ivy with leaves composed of three leaflets. You can relieve the itch of a poison ivy reaction with calamine lotion, oral antihistamines, and cortisone. A rash can develop when touching poison ivy, oak, or sumac and transferring oil from someone or something (such as a dog or clothing) that has been in contact with the poison.
Be very careful if you spend time looking for edible plants in urban areas, as poison ivy is also common in this type of ecosystem. To further complicate matters, poison ivy can be a ground covering plant, a climbing vine, or a vine. However, there are several subspecies or varieties of poison ivy that make identification a little difficult. This brief and descriptive warning is intended to prevent you from touching or brushing the poison ivy plant.
Most plants have some type of chemical defense system that helps protect them against predators, and the chemicals produced by poison ivy and its relatives are particularly effective. As the days get shorter and the temperature drops, poison ivy will change color to bright orange, yellow, or red. Visit the Poison Control Center website to learn more about poison ivy, oak and sumac and other irritating plants. .