"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Relieving skin irritation from troublesome plants

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These easy steps can prevent from itchy, oozing rashes.


Like animals, many plants have defense systems to guard themselves. Some extract allergenic oils or juices. If you touch or brush against it, the contact triggers an allergic response that appears in two to 10 days as a red, swollen, itchy, blistered rash called allergic contact dermatitis. Poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac are essentially the most well-known for causing this problem, but there may be an extended list of other culprits, akin to tomato plant leaves and lots of flowers, including marigolds, chrysanthemums, poinsettias, and Philodendron.

Other plants protect themselves with spines and thorns. Roses and cacti are best known for them, however the tiny spikes are on many common plants, akin to some mosses, palms, and blackberry and raspberry bushes. The rash that results from contact with these spikes is comparable to contact dermatitis, but involves small puncture wounds and is named mechanical irritant dermatitis.

Know your poisons.

Know your poisons.

Example: Susan Aveshai

Poison ivy and poison oak (above) are either
Vines or shrubs with 3 broad leaves.
on a stem. Poison sumac (left) is a shrub with
Stems with 7-13 leaves are arranged in pairs.”


Dr. Arndt says the allergic response will go away by itself in about 10 days, but you'll likely want relief from a burning, itchy feeling. To relieve symptoms, he recommends applying a cool compress after which patting your skin dry. He also prescribes topical steroids. “Hydrocortisone is available over the counter, but it has low potency,” says Dr. Arndt. The strongest creams are prescription-only — clobetasol (Cormax, Timvet) and flucainonide (Lidex), he says.

You might want to apply the creams a couple of times a day until the rash clears up. Dr. Arndt says one of the best method to apply creams is to scrub the affected skin, pat it dry, after which apply the cream while the skin remains to be damp. It will likely be higher absorbed this manner.

Debunking the Poison Ivy Myth:

1 Myth: Rash is contagious.

Not true. It could seem unpleasant, but it can not spread to yourself or one other person, even once you see blisters.

Myth 2: If you may have it once, you're immune.

Not true. Once you get it, you will certainly get it again since you will likely be allergic to it.

Myth 3: You can get it by respiratory.

Sometimes true. You won't inhale the toxins should you walk by it, but you could have an allergic response if the plant is burning nearby and also you breathe within the fumes.


The easiest method to avoid one in all these fibers is to guard yourself once you're outdoors. This means wearing protective clothing — long sleeves and pants — when gardening or spending time near potentially poisonous plants. Dr. Arndt also recommends using a thick pair of labor gloves. “The best gloves are heavy enough that they don't break in easily, but flexible enough that you can work with them,” he says.

Once you're back in, you may as well be lively. Use soap and water to scrub your hands or any a part of your body that has come into contact with poisonous plants. “If you wash immediately, most of the plant oil will be reduced or gone,” says Dr. Arndt. “If you wait 10 to 15 minutes, half the oil will stop, if you wait an hour, none will come.”