Common Poison Ivy Myths

Posted on July 1, 2024 at 12:00 PM by Tom Swegle

A young girl in a yellow and white dress scratching a poison ivy rash on her arm.

Poison ivy has a notorious reputation, but ‘common knowledge’ about the plant and its effects is often untrue. In this blog, we’ll debunk some of the most common poison ivy myths so you can take the proper precautions and protect yourself.

Myth- Poison Ivy is Contagious

Fact- Coming into contact with urushiol is what causes the itchy rash we associate with poison ivy. Urushiol is an oily resin found in poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. Once urushiol has been washed off a person’s skin, the rash itself cannot be spread to another person. However, urushiol can remain active on surfaces for up to five years, so make sure to wash anything that comes into contact with poison ivy, such as clothes, shoes, or tools.

Myth- Scratching Spreads a Poison Ivy Rash

Fact- As mentioned above, once the urushiol has been washed off a person’s skin, the rash itself cannot spread. Likewise, if you have a rash and have washed off the urushiol, the rash cannot spread to other parts of your body.

Myth- Only Poison Ivy’s Leaves are Dangerous

Fact- The entire poison ivy plant produces urushiol, which is also present in a dead or dormant plant. Urushiol can also get on clothes, shoes, and other surfaces, which can then transfer to your skin and cause a reaction.

Myth- I’m Immune to Poison Ivy

Fact- Between ten and fifteen percent of the population have a tolerance to urushiol. However, factors such as increased exposure, fluctuating sensitivity, and the strength of plants in a given season can cause a reaction even in those who have never experienced one. Additionally, sometimes people don’t experience their first reaction until they’ve been exposed multiple times.

Protect Yourself with Outdoor Joe’s Poison Ivy Pro®

Armed with the above knowledge, you can protect yourself and others from the painful effects of poison ivy. Pair this information with Outdoor Joe’s®, a homeopathic rhus tox oral solution that helps your body build a resistance to poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. Get your bottle today!