Understanding Poison Ivy’s Impact on Your Health

Posted on August 16, 2023 at 12:46 PM by Tom Swegle

Blog on understand how poison ivy impacts your health

The appeal of the outdoors comes with the risk of encountering poison ivy. Let's dive into the health implications of exposure.

What is Poison Ivy?

Poison ivy can be identified by its three shiny leaves, but don't be deceived by its harmless appearance. Upon contact, it releases a sticky oil called urushiol, which can lead to painful rashes and itching. Found in various locations, it's crucial to recognize and avoid this plant

Poison Ivy’s Effects on Health

Contact Dermatitis

The most common effect of poison ivy exposure is contact dermatitis. When coming in contact with the plant, an allergic reaction is triggered, causing redness, itching, swelling, and blistering. The painful, resulting rash emerges within 12 to 48 hours after contact and may persist for several weeks. Stay protected during hikes or potential encounters with poison ivy by wearing long pants and long sleeves.

Respiratory Irritation

When poison ivy is burned, urushiol is released into the air as tiny particles. Inhaling these particles may lead to respiratory irritation, causing coughing, wheezing, and breathing difficulties. Individuals with asthma or other respiratory conditions could be more susceptible to these effects. It’s important to handle any potential poison ivy burning with extreme caution to protect your respiratory health.

Eye Irritation

If urushiol comes into contact with the eyes, it can cause irritation and redness. This can occur if you touch poison ivy and then touch your eyes without thorough hand washing. Keeping your hands clean and away from your face is a simple yet effective way to avoid eye irritation.

Remedies and Treatments


To alleviate itching and inflammation, apply cool, damp compresses to the rash. Using a clean cloth soaked in cold water, gently press it against the affected areas for 15 to 30 minutes. This can provide relief from the discomfort caused by poison ivy.

Avoid Scratching

Resist the temptation to scratch the rash, as it can lead to infections and worsen the symptoms. Scratching can break the skin, allowing bacteria to enter and potentially cause serious complications. 

Developing Poison Ivy Immunity

Are People Immune to Poison Ivy?

While some claim they are immune to poison ivy, nobody is entirely immune to urushiol. However, some people may have a higher tolerance and show milder reactions to the plant's contact. The reaction to poison ivy can vary from person to person.

Outdoor Joe’s Oral Solution - Boosting Your Defenses

Outdoor Joe's has developed an oral solution for building poison ivy immunity. Its primary ingredient, Rhus Toxicodendron, is a homeopathic liquid treatment that effectively reduces sensitivity to poison ivy, poison sumac, and poison oak rashes and reactions

Learn more about our solution and other poison ivy resources on our website.