THE DANGER: Everybody knows what poison ivy looks like and how to avoid it, right? Leaves of there, let it be. Not to mention the shiny oils. But despite the warning signs, each and every one of us has dealt with the harsh reality of poison ivy at one time or another. PREVENTION: The best way to prevent poison ivy is to know what it looks like and avoid it. About.com offers numerous mnemonic devices to help identify the plant in case you aren't familiar with it. If you do get poison ivy, don't fear, treatment isn't that difficult and can be accomplished largely through over the counter treatments. A poison ivy rash can last anywhere from one to four weeks, depending on severity and treatment. In rare cases, poison ivy reactions may require hospitalization. Another important step when dealing with poison ivy is to try to prevent the spread of the oils once the poison ivy is around. Urushiol oil can remain active for several years, so handling dead leaves or vines can cause a reaction. In addition, oil transferred from the plant to other objects (such as pet fur) can cause the rash if it comes into contact with the skin. Clothing, tools, and other objects that have been exposed to the oil should be washed to prevent further transmission. Read more about treatment and prevention from WebMD.
Steven J. Baskauf