Outdoors blog


Poison Ivy Prevention Camping in Wilderness

If you never grew up anywhere near woods, you may be surprised to learn that this poisonous plant called poison ivy can also be found in vacant lots, in the suburbs, beach towns, or sidewalk cracks.

It is a wide plant that causes an allergic reaction when you touch or brush against it. It may cause a condition known as contact dermatitis – a blistering rash that spreads over your skin in the part touch or brushed against the plant. When the condition becomes severe, the rashes get extremely painful.

How Do You Spot Poison Ivy?

The plant has three pointed leaves that change colors depending on the season. This is what you will notice first, so, keep that in mind. How does it change colors? During the spring the leaves appear reddish, green in the summer, and yellow, orange, or red during the fall season. Their leaves have notched edges, and smooth edges in some plants. Sometimes, the plant bears white berries. Because birds normally feed on the berries and transplant the seeds in other areas, poison ivy is very common.

When Can You Start Seeing Symptoms of Poison Ivy Rash?

The poison ivy rash usually appears within two days of exposure. However, it may take longer if you get exposed to it for the first time. It gets at its peak after 5 days and starts fading after 7-10 days. Although some people may get exposed and don’t experience much pain, and other symptoms, it is unlikely to be immune to the poison ivy.

Poison Ivy Prevention Measures

To prevent yourself from getting poison ivy rash, practice the following tips:

  1. Cover Your Skin as Possible

If you live in the woods, or you know you are going to where the plant is, ensure you cover your skin as much as possible. Think about wearing long-sleeved shirts, hats, socks, closed-toe shoes. If you wear pants, ensure it can at least be tucked into socks.


  1. Rinse Your Skin Thoroughly

Use lukewarm, soapy water to rinse your skin in case you have touched poisonous ivy. You can use alcohol! Rub alcohol within about an hour of touching or brushing against the plant. This will help remove the urushiol which causes poison ivy rash whenever you get exposed to the plant. If it doesn’t prevent you from the rash, at least your rushes will be less severe.

Remember also to wash anything that came into contact with the plant following the fact that it can remain potent for years.

  1. Use Over-The-Counter (OTC) Creams

OTC creams work to delay urushiol from penetrating your skin. These creams are thickly applied all over your skin half an hour before getting into poisonous ivy stronghold. If you get exposed to the plant, wash off the cream after at least 4 hours after the time of exposure. This will prevent your skin from absorbing the urushiol. You can get OTC creams from your local drugstore, or you can shop for them online.

Take an antihistamine and ibuprophen.

  1. Wash, Rinse, Soak

Poison ivy rash will take up to three weeks to clear up. Ensure you wash well using lukewarm, and soapy water to get any residual oil from your skin.

If you have developed the rash, continuously washing with lukewarm water will at least ease itching and skin burning. Did you know that soaking in cool water baths also helps? It can be a good remedy especially if you add oatmeal-based products. This should relieve you of the symptoms.

If you grew up in rural areas in almost all U.S. states, you have probably heard of the terms “leaves of three, let it be”. Of course, this may sound strange if you grew up away from the woods. But it is important to know they are not just found in the woods.

The terms were used as a warning intended to keep people, especially children from touching or brushing against poison ivy. And it worked! That was one simple way of preventing yourself from being in contact with this poisonous plant.

Hiking and camping can be dangerous.


You should know that poison ivy is a dangerous plant and you should strive to prevent yourself from it. If you have to get exposed to it, use the above tips, and you be just fine.

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