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Author Topic: Poison ivy, oak, sumac  (Read 1111 times)

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Offline Sauna freak

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Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« on: February 20, 2021, 08:05:48 PM »
My nemesis in the woods is poison ivy and it's relatives. I'm severely allergic, a severe exposure can require hospitalization. Since I work in underground utilities, I'm constantly on the watch for it and despite my best efforts usually get at least a mild case a couple times per year.

Recently, I visited family in South Carolina to help them get the forested portion of their new homestead in order and come up with a management plan. Part of the project was dropping a few dead loblolly pines that were quite large, and using the logs for some projects. I was informed of the presence of poison oak in the area, so took extreme care not to contact any of the undergrowth, and remove and clean clothes and my body immediately after work with Fels Naptha. What I didn't know, was that the stuff grows on vines down there! Big, nasty, hairy vines that were twining all around the trees I was cutting, milling and manhandling. I thought the vines were just virginia creeper or muscadine. Didn't quite require the hospital, but did get some prescription meds and was pretty miserable for a week. I'll take the MN cold vs poison ivy that climbs trees!

What are some of your home remedies and precautions to avoid the urishol family while in the woods hunting, working, etc?  Shot/vaccination/immunity cures?  Good method of killing the viney stuff?
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Offline doc henderson

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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2021, 08:24:55 PM »
so the oil causes a contact dermatitis.  keep your skin covered if you are in the vicinity.  mostly in shaded tree areas.  If you get a known swipe of a leaf or vine go wash with soap.  anything that will make the oil soluble in water.  dawn gets all the attention, but not necessary.  If you get the rash, antihistamines block the itch/rash for a few hours, but do not shut down the immune response.  Steroids like prednisone, shut the reaction down in a few days.  if you keep getting new areas of rash, over several days, it is from the initial exposure, not from scratching if you washed up.  learn to be wary and to identify it.  and then avoid.  nothing magical, you need contact to get it.  but if cutting a vine with a chainsaw, it will spray the oil.  they say after cutting a tree down, that after a few years, the vine may be devoid of oil.  I guess you can go touch and see.  
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2021, 08:58:56 PM »
   My wife is very much allergic to it and I am not so she frequently gets it from me. Also she sometimes gets it from firewood that had the vine on it and I am thinking many of those vines had been dead a long time so I'd be real careful around them. Some of the worst cases come from breathing smoke from burning leaves and vines so be sure to avoid that. It can get in your lungs and my wife has problems with it getting in her eyes.

   I generally have no reaction at all even when I have been working in it for a good while. My wife can get it just rubbing against the clothes I wore in the woods. I don't remember the last time I saw Poison sumac although it, poison oak and poison ivy are all the same genus Rhus. I think staghorn sumac, smooth sumac (which may be the same) and winged sumac are the same genus but I never heard of them causing any problems. 

   Trumpet creeper or Cowitch vibe is another vine we have that has some toxicity but not as bad as the others from what I have seen.
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Offline firefighter ontheside

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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2021, 09:18:43 PM »
I'm not very susceptible to poison ivy or poison oak.  I have had poison ivy a few times and I had a little poison oak while fighting wildfires in CA.  I was always taught by my grandma to use vinegar to help reduce the chance of getting it.  If I feel I have been exposed to some, I'll wipe my legs or arms down with a paper towel soaked with some white vinegar.  Vinegar is not proven to be a remedy, but it seems to work.

One common misconception about poison ivy is that it can spread once you have it.  That is not the case.  The rash comes from exposure to the oil.  If you get rashes in new spots, it means you are continually being exposed to the oil.  This is why bathing with plenty of warm soapy water is important.  Also, make sure that any clothes or other objects you had with you when you were exposed have been washed.  People have been known to get poison ivy from their animals who were exposed to the plants.  The dogs can transfer the oil to furniture in the house.
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Offline red

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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2021, 09:59:20 PM »
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2021, 10:36:41 PM »
Im very allergic now.. Wasnt at all as a kid.  Have had it dozens of times.  Nothing works better than learning them all and having an eye to stay out of it in the first place.  After that, a prescription steroid like docs says was hands down the fastest i ever got cured.  Ive gotten it off snowplows or mower decks in the middle of winter. 


Never ever go near a furry vine.  Poison sumac is a pretty rare swamp loving tree.. Most people see a staghorn sumac and think it poison sumac. There are a ton of sumacs though. Poison sumac has a smooth leaf edge and red stems in the berry cluster. 
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Offline azmtnman

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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2021, 11:10:21 PM »
I was REALLY allergic to poison ivy when I was a kid growing up in Indiana. 
I got allergy shots as a kid. The 1st Dr. gave them to me about March? The Dr. my grandma worked for said that wasn't early enough in the year and started giving them to me in January. The shots and the timing made a big difference. I seem to have outgrown the severe allergy but can still get it.
  As far as remedies, Cortizone cream was my go-to.  I had a bout with it a couple years ago that didn't seem to want to go away. I scrubbed the infected area with a stiff-bristled brush and poured bleach on it. I have used that method more than once in my lifetime especially when it gets so bad it gets the watery blisters. It's healing in a day or 2 after the bleach treatment. It burns like a torch but gets the job done!
  I know it's anecdotal and medical professionals disagree with me, but it can spread. I've had those watery areas that run down my arm and the rash will follow DAYS LATER! I've also had places that touch other places on me and spreads it to the other place like inside of my elbow. If it's a wives tale that scratching it spreads it, where did that come from? It sure wasn't from laboratory research. Maybe it depends on the individual and severity of the allergy?
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2021, 11:17:47 PM »
  As Mike says Poison sumac is pretty rare. The best thing to remember is the old adage "Leaves of three - leave it be". Poison sumac is the only one with 3 leaves. The others have more leaves than that.
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Offline doc henderson

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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2021, 05:34:25 AM »
poison ivy has 3 leaves as well.  the first rash to show up is the biggest dose or concentration of the oil.  often it shows up like a line, and spreads.  the line is where the leaf or vine rubbed as you walk by.  you can touch the oil and transfer it somewhere else.  but after you have washed it off, the rash is set and there is no more oil to move around.  you can get it from fomite spread if there is enough oil, like on boots.  so the rash that shows up on day three was an exposure on day 1 and just took awhile to manifest.  the study of contact dermatitis was done with punch biopsies and microscopy.  i have heard of the brush and bleach thing, but seems like adding insult to injury.   :o 8) :)
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Offline kantuckid

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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2021, 07:46:06 AM »
Im very allergic now.. Wasnt at all as a kid.  Have had it dozens of times.  Nothing works better than learning them all and having an eye to stay out of it in the first place.  After that, a prescription steroid like docs says was hands down the fastest i ever got cured.  Ive gotten it off snowplows or mower decks in the middle of winter.


Never ever go near a furry vine.  Poison sumac is a pretty rare swamp loving tree.. Most people see a staghorn sumac and think it poison sumac. There are a ton of sumacs though. Poison sumac has a smooth leaf edge and red stems in the berry cluster.
Thats my experience-when younger poison ivy often didn't affect my skin but in my senior years it does easily.
Years ago i was clearing old pines to sell as pine posts and ivy is of course common on field pines-never bother me much. Seemed worse though if you cut into a big vine at the base in spring when the sap went flying onto you arms or face! Now, I pull them off of saw logs with gloved hands before I skid them. 
Cute story: One of our twins when early teens thought he'd make his Mom a gift and went into our woods collecting what he thought was a grape vine. Had it all rolled up nice and neat and was itching not long after he got it to her. She's savy enough woods wise to have seen the hairy aspect and never touched "her gift" meanwhile his forearms were miserable for days. 
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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2021, 07:55:10 AM »
I have that stuff here. Been fighting it for years. My Father did too. No vines here, well not on my land. The glaciers keep it at bay.  :D That poison ivy that I have been fighting years is in the woods at the edge of a field. I have been spraying in the woods, trying to kill it. It will try to come back, if I don't keep right at it. 
I bought back some of The Farm. Had a so called stone wall covered in that stuff. I kept that wall barren for 3 years. If it was green I sprayed it. Killed the poison ivy and hauled the stone wall off to the bog. We mow it now.
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Offline kantuckid

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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2021, 08:00:23 AM »
Eradication of poison ivy on our land would be a lifetime, :D FT job...
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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2021, 08:31:55 AM »
I am very poor at poison ivy identification but have my own superstition of removal that involves multiple hot/cold shower and fels naphtha.  But, I read about and use an itch relief method that works quite well.  I run warm water over the affected area and gradually increase the temperature until I can't stand it any more.  By increasing gradually you will be able to tolerate a higher temp than if you just started hot.  Once you reach your limit the itch will be gone for hours.  It never fails to work for me.

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Offline Magicman

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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2021, 08:36:36 AM »
What I didn't know, was that the stuff grows on vines down there! Big, nasty, hairy vines that were twining all around the trees



 
Yes I would say that; "Big, nasty, hairy vines" is very descriptive.
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Offline Texas Ranger

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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2021, 08:55:30 AM »
Growing up, lo those many years ago, we had a neighbor that used a unique method for his sensitivity to poison ivy.  Each spring when the plants came to life (in Ohio) he would collect the new leaves, roll them up into a capsule, and swallow them.

Seemed to work for him, but he seldom got off the sidewalk. 

I would not recommend such behavior.

A parallel:  In in the '60's we had an elder gentleman working as a care taker on a state forest here in Texas.  We had a very serious out break of southern pine beetle through out the east part of the state.  Our only treatment at the time was to cut the recent infected trees and spray the stems with BHC.  The elder gentleman saw the BHC killing the bugs and decided that it would also kill the flu.  Took a teaspoon a day till we found out about it and explained the problem. 

But he didn't catch the flu.
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Offline kantuckid

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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #15 on: February 21, 2021, 09:36:00 AM »
My Wife's Mamaw was a plant person royale! She knew everything natural world wise and drank pokeberry juice every year. She died from a stroke, age 91 some years back. 
IMO, Magicman wins the thread with that picture?  Me, I'm not eating poison ivy leaves, call me a chicken.  
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Offline Old saw fixer

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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #16 on: February 21, 2021, 12:43:10 PM »
     I am usually not affected severely by poison ivy, but neither do I push my luck.
     Not going to derail the thread, but those darn chiggers....I let the bears and birds have the black berries.
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Offline doc henderson

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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #17 on: February 21, 2021, 12:51:21 PM »
 

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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #18 on: February 21, 2021, 03:14:50 PM »
During a financially embarrassing time I used to be gainfully employed by BellSouth and we had alcohol wipes to clean our skin if we came in contact with poison ivy. Or creosote, another job hazard. Well yeah, if you "know" you came in contact that's easy enough. Worst exposure I ever had when I cut a big hairy vine and a small fragment managed to land un noticed under my watch band. I keep a few alcohol wipes in my range bag because my shooting glasses tend to fog up. Those big hairy vines? Garlon and diesel works very well from a safe distance.

Offline Sauna freak

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Re: Poison ivy, oak, sumac
« Reply #19 on: February 21, 2021, 04:00:44 PM »
Magicman, that picture looks almost exactly like the logs I was cutting up.  Got the worst reactions on my left forearm where I was leaning into the trunk for bore cutting and bear hugging the tree to get a cable around the trunk LOL.  Also a bit of a shadow around my safety glasses, and a nice bit around the belt line and the cuffs of my boots where sawdust collected.  My bar nut thumb and finger got it pretty good also.

Now I know the stuff grows on vines in the south!
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