• Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac Facts

    • Most common allergy in the country claiming half the population
    • Sensitivity to urushiol (the allergen in the plants) can develop at any time.
    • Solutions or cures are those that annihilate urushiol.
    • Everyone appears to react slightly different to all the remedies.
    • Covered by workers compensation in some states.
    • First published records of poison ivy in North America date back to 1600s.
    • Poison Ivy coined by Captain John Smith in 1609.
    • Western Poison Oak discovered by David Douglas (1799-1834) on Vancouver Island. 
    • People will serious deficiency in cellular (T-cell) immunity such as AIDS patients may not have problems with dermatitis.  
    Myths vs. Facts:
    Myth
    Fact
    Poison Ivy rash is contagious.
    Rubbing the rashes won't spread poison ivy to other parts of your body or to another person. You spread the rash only if urushiol oil (the sticky, resinlike substance that causes the rash) has been left on your hands.
    You can catch poison ivy simply by being near the plants
    Direct contact is needed to release urushiol oil. Stay away from forest fires, direct burning, or anything else that can cause the oil to become airborne such as a lawnmower, trimmer, etc.
    Leaves of three, let them be
    Poison sumac has 7 to 13 leaves on a branch, although poison ivy and oak have 3 leaves per cluster.
    Do not worry about dead plants
    Urushiol oil stays active on any surface, including dead plants, for up to 5 years.
    Breaking the blisters releases urushiol oil that can spread
    Not true. But your wounds can become infected and you may make the scarring worse. In very extreme cases, excessive fluid may need to be withdrawn by a doctor.
    I've been in poison ivy many times and never broken out. I'm immune.
    Not necessarily true. Upwards of 90% of people are allergic to urushiol oil, it's a matter of time and exposure. The more times you are exposed to urushiol, the more likely it is that you will break out with an allergic rash. For the first time sufferer, it generally takes longer for the rash to show up, generally in 7 to 10 days.

    This information and more can be found at the Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac Information Center: