Poison Ivy Facts and FAQ

Stay Safe This Poison Ivy Season

Image of a Poison Ivy leaf

When it comes to being prepared for poison ivy season, it’s essential to have knowledge of basic poison ivy facts. Keeping you safe from the painful consequences of coming into contact with poisonous plants is our goal. We accomplish with facts regarding poison oak, poison sumac, and poison ivy removal, rash types, burning poison ivy, recognizing the symptoms, learning who has poison ivy immunity, allergic reactions, and more.

The painful rash caused by contact with poison ivy, or poisonous plants, can ruin the enjoyment of the great outdoors. With summer fun in the sun comes the potential for contact with this often hidden enemy. Most people don’t recognize plants as being poisonous until it’s too late. This is why knowing simple facts about poison ivy is so important.

Wondering how long poison ivy lasts or what to look for in terms of leaves? Our helpful compilation of common questions helps ease the confusion surrounding this problematic worry.

Are you looking for treating the ensuing rash, removing poisonous plants, or learning how poison ivy rashes can be contagious? We have the answers you need to avoid this unfortunate downside to enjoying the great outdoors.

What do the facts have to do with Outdoor Joe’s®?

Recognizing poison ivy facts can lead you in the direction of our preventative solution. Our homeopathic solution helps prevent poison ivy reactions for up to a full year. Most people achieve complete reduce sensitivity while in others the severity of a reaction is reduced. 

Outdoor Joe’s® is highly recommended by physicians, nurses, and pharmacists in preventing the effects of poison ivy. We offer protection that’s powerful while being an easy addition to your supplement regimen. 

Dosage is once a week for three weeks in the winter and once a month when there is a chance of exposure. Not to mention, Outdoor Joe's® is easy to administer. While it is most beneficial to begin during winter months, it can be administered at any time of year. If you can begin dosage in the winter, February is best. This is due to the dormant phase of poison ivy at that time of year.



What are symptoms of breathing smoke from burned poison ivy?

Removing any poisonous plant like poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac requires proper knowledge of how to handle the plant safely. Some people think the fastest and easiest remedy to removing poison plants is by burning it. This method, while effective at removing the vines and leaves of the plant, is a potentially dangerous option and should be avoided at all costs due to poison ivy smoke. So, what exactly happens if you burn poison ivy? Poison ivy oils can be carried through the air and infect the airways of people in the surrounding areas for miles. Whether an intentional burn or an accidental wildfire has introduced poison ivy into your airway, there are some things you need to know.

Breathing the fumes of burning poison ivy can have serious health consequences and lead to death in severe cases left untreated. If you are planning of or have thought about burning poison ivy, there are symptoms of inhaling burned poison ivy smoke to be aware of.

Difficulty Breathing

This symptom should never be ignored! The burned poison ivy can get in your throat and lungs causing inflamed airways that make breathing painful. While this inflammation can be painful enough to seek medical treatment for poison ivy, the swelling is the real concern. If you are having difficulty breathing, it is because your airways are swelling from the toxins. Seek immediate medical attention if this symptom occurs.


While you may never come in contact with the poison ivy plant itself, a rash can still occur from breathing in the smoke of burning plants. In most cases, the rash will be on the inside of the mouth and the lips but may spread to other areas depending on how much smoke you inhaled and how much of the plant’s oil was carried in the air or ash you came in contact with. Seek immediate medical treatment for poison ivy attention if this symptom occurs. Do not try an at home poison ivy remedy.


A fever is a common symptom of inhaling burned poison ivy plants. Any time your body is under attack, a fever may occur as the body’s reaction to the outside threat. While a fever is a normal aspect of colds, it should never be ignored when associated with a poison ivy rash. It is a sign your immune system is struggling to rid your body of the toxins and requires medical attention if it reaches over 100 degrees.

Any time you have these symptoms and suspect you have breathed in poison ivy, it is advisable to seek medical treatment for poison ivy. When it comes to breathing in harmful toxins, it is always better to be safe than sorry!

How do you get poison ivy?

While many people of all ages love spending time in the great outdoors, there are a few possible dangers to be vigilant of at all times, from wild animals to rash-inducing plants. Poison ivy is one of the worst offenders during active seasons. How do you contract poison ivy? It is easier than you may think. You may think that as long as you stay aware of plants while hiking or gardening, you will be mostly able to prevent an encounter. However, poison ivy can be one of the sneakiest culprits affecting people who do not even remember coming in contact with the plant. In order to limit your exposure to the dangerous plant, it is imperative to know the answer to the question of “how do you contract poison ivy?’

Direct Touch

The most common way to contract poison ivy is by directly touching the plant, whether leaves, stems, roots, or the berries. Even with minimal contact, the power of poison ivy can be strong enough to elicit the painful rash associated with exposure. While you may think you may be on high alert when in areas such as the woods, poison ivy can grow nearly anywhere, including near the sidewalks of popular places. Keep an eye out no matter where you are for this poisonous plant.

Indirect Contact

Even if you did not come into direct contact, it is still possible to develop a painful rash by proxy. The oils emitted from poisonous plants can retain potency even in trace amounts. If you stepped in the oils unknowingly and then touch your shoes, you can develop a rash. If someone else has poison ivy oil on their skin or clothes and you come in contact, you are vulnerable to the effects of having touched the plant yourself.


While it considered unsafe and not a recommended method, some people will attempt to burn poison ivy plants to rid their property of them. Whether from an irresponsible neighbor or a nearby brush fire, inhaling the vapors of burning poison ivy opens you up to developing complications. This type of contraction is especially painful as it will affect the sensitive areas of the nasal passages and lungs.

What causes poison ivy?

As one of the most unpleasant rashes you can contract from the great outdoors, poison ivy requires a vigilant approach to ensure prevention. It is recommended to know the appearance of the plant and take care not to touch it while hiking or gardening. While hiking and gardening are the most common means of contact, this is a plant that can strike anywhere it is allowed to take root. Even with knowing what to look for and taking extra precautions, the causes of poison ivy can still attack almost anyone. When it comes to poison ivy, both the plant and the rash that shares the name, knowing the causes may help you avoid an unwanted encounter. 

One of the main causes of poison ivy rash is obviously coming in contact with the poison ivy plant itself. Whether the leaves, stems, roots or berries, any contact with this plant will result in painful itching and burning irritation, as well as uncomfortable blisters. Direct contact will almost always result in the poison ivy rash unless taking a supplement.

Another one of the causes of poison ivy rash is the indirect contact method. Every poisonous plant has powerful oils. With poison ivy plants, that oil is potent enough to remain active for years. If your jacket brushed up against poison ivy and oil was left behind, you could develop the poison ivy rash by simply touching the jacket. 

The third, less likely but still possible, cause of poison ivy rash is when the plant is burned, either on purpose to try to kill the plant or by accident from a brush fire. When poison ivy is inhaled it can lead to painful irritation of the nasal passages, throat, and lungs. It is never recommended to burn poison ivy because of the danger it poses to people. Even if the fire is in a somewhat contained area, the smoke can travel for miles and affect anyone who breathes it unknowingly.

When looking to prevent poison ivy rash, a good method is to simply stay away from plants you suspect are poisonous. However, it is easy to make a careless mistake. The best bet is to arm yourself with a powerful reduction in sensitivity builder to prevent outbreaks.

Can I get poison ivy from my pets?

As a pet owner, you do all you can to keep your furry friends safe and happy. While you try to protect them as much as possible, there are concerns you may not be able to prevent. When you take your dog to the woods for a camping trip or let your outside cat happily roam, you may have concerns about how poisonous plants, particularly poison ivy, can affect your pet. Can my pet contract poison ivy? Can animals carry poison ivy and pass it to humans? When it comes to pets and poison ivy, we have the answers you need.

The first thing you need to know is that pets, for the most part, are not likely to contact the poison ivy rash like humans. The reason they have a reduction in sensitivity is to their thick coats of fur which act as a shield between the plant and their skin. However, if an animal is a furless breed, such as sphinx cats, they are more likely to develop the rash. For the most part, your pets are safe from poison ivy. However, short-haired breeds or pets who have had their fur trimmed close to the skin are more susceptible.

Knowing that your pets are safe and healthy is a great feeling, but what about your health? Can animals carry poison ivy? While animals do not develop the rash, they can still act as accidental carriers of poison ivy and spread it to anyone who touches them. The reason for this transference process is because the oils in poison ivy plants, otherwise called urushiol, are incredibly potent can remain active for years. If you come in contact with the oils, you will likely develop the irritation and itching of the painful rash associated with this plant.

In order to avoid indirectly contracting poison ivy from pets, you should bathe them regularly, especially after any unmonitored or extended outdoor excursions. Even with a vigilant approach, it is still recommended to watch where your pets are when they are outdoors with you to limit the likelihood of contact with poison ivy plants.

Are some people immune to poison ivy?

While enjoying the outdoors can be a relaxing experience, the threat of poison ivy lurks in nearly every environment, even in cities. Poison ivy affects more than just hikers and gardeners. Hundreds of thousands of people are affected by the rash associated with this plant every single year. From the unpleasant itching to the painful blisters, the rash can last from a few days to almost a month with a range of severity depending on the individual. A poison ivy rash is caused by a person with an allergy, most of the human population, coming in contact with the plant leaves, stems, or oils, whether directly or indirectly. When it comes to poison ivy sensitivity, most people are lacking in the defenses needed to be considered immune.

The idea of poison ivy immunity is often misunderstood. While there are people in the world, who can come into contact with poison ivy plants and never develop a rash, the majority of people who touch poison ivy will. The way poison ivy immunity is looked at is often the degree to which an individual is affected by poison ivy, not whether or not they are affected. Anyone who develops the poison ivy rash is considered allergic to poison ivy plants. For example, one person may touch the leaves of a poison ivy plant and break out into blisters almost immediately and suffer for weeks whereas another person could have a few bumps accompanied by mild itching that clears up in a few days.

While people who are allergic may never achieve true poison ivy immunity, there are products, such as Rhus Toxicodendron, which can help lessen the dangers of poison ivy encounters and reduce sensitivity. For some users, they could develop complete immunity using this product while others may still develop the rash after an encounter, but a milder rash than what they would have experienced before reducing sensitivity. The level of immunity achieved is often based on the severity of allergic reactions inherent in the individual, as well as proper dosage and overall health. Aside from reducing sensitivity, precautions should still be taken to avoid poison ivy plants.

Is poison ivy contagious?

Poison ivy is one of the most unpleasant rashes to contract. From the painful irritation and itching to the unpleasant blisters, poison ivy rashes can make even the slightest movement of the affected area feel like a chore. While many people may be aware of what poison ivy rash looks like and how it is contracted from poison ivy plants, there are still some helpful facts to know about this condition. For instance, if a loved one has poison ivy and you do not, what are the precautions you should take to keep yourself safe? Is poison ivy contagious?

When you see the red bumps and blisters caused by the poison ivy rash, it is a common fear that you will develop the rash from contacting the rash on another person. Is poison ivy contagious? No, not in the way you may think. If you come in contact with the rash of someone suffering from poison ivy, you will not be affected by their rash, even if they have blisters that have opened and are releasing liquid. However, you can catch the poison ivy rash from other people and even pets.

While you will not develop a rash from someone else’s rash, humans and animals can act as carriers of poison ivy which can cause the rash to develop even if you had no direct contact with the plant. The reason behind this type of spreading is that poison ivy plants have powerful oils that are clear. These clear oils can live for years without losing their ability to cause a rash. If these oils are still present on the skin of the person with the rash, then you may catch the rash. This spreading of the oils is why many people falsely believe the poison ivy rash is contagious. A rash that has been cleaned thoroughly is not contagious. The same is true for animals carrying poison ivy oils in their fur or any clothing that may have oils on it.

While poison ivy is not contagious, there are some precautions to take, such as never touch the rash of another person because there may be oils, bathe pets after any outdoor excursions, and take Rhus Toxicodendron to build-up reduction in poison ivy sensitivity.

What does poison ivy rash look like?

Poison ivy rashes can sneak up on people. While you may have been careful to knowingly avoid plants with three leaves while on your latest outdoor adventure to the woods or the park, the oils from these plants can be carried on a variety of sources, from clothing to pets. Since many rashes can look similar, telling apart poison ivy induced rashes requires some basic knowledge about what to look for. What does a poison ivy rash look like?

A poison ivy rash often develops on skin that has been exposed to either direct contact with leaves of poison ivy or from direct or indirect contact with the oils emitted from the poison ivy plant. The rash most often occurs in common places, such as arms, legs, and hands, which are easily exposed to the elements. However, if there are oils on the hand, and you touch your face or any other part of the body, the rash will spread to those areas as well. The rash is not contagious so it will not spread on its own. It will only spread if the oil spreads from one place to another.

While some rashes can look similar to poison ivy, there are some telltale signs it is poison ivy and not simply skin irritation. So what does a poison ivy rash look like? The first sign of poison ivy rash is often lines along the skin that suffered exposure to the plant. These red lines are where the leaves came in contact with the skin, so they are often thin. If you did not come in contact with the leaves, but rather the oil, the lines may cover a larger area or may not resemble lines and may look more like red spots. When determining if it poison ivy rash, the other signs are redness of the affected area, small red bumps which will turn into larger blisters filled with a white fluid, excessive itchiness, and in most cases swelling of the inflicted area. While these signs of poison ivy are accompanied by pain and irritation, medical treatment is rarely needed for mild reactions. It can be treated at home with proper cleaning of the area and an over-the-counter topical cream.

What do I do after poison ivy exposure?

While spending time outdoors can be a favorite pastime, there are some dangers to keep in mind. One of the most important dangers to be aware of is poison ivy plants. Most people will have an encounter with poison ivy at some point in life. When it comes to this dangerous plant, you may think you know what to look for and how to avoid contact, but many people develop the rash without realizing they were even near a poison ivy plant. How does this happen? What do I do after poison ivy exposure?

The reason many people develop the poison ivy rash without realizing they have been in contact is because of the oils emitted from the plant. These powerful oils are clear and mostly odorless so they would be nearly impossible to detect on clothing, shoes, or other items that may have brushed up against a plant. It can even be in the coat of your pet leaving them unharmed but potentially hurting you. While you may have been careful to avoid poison ivy, you may come in contact with someone carrying the oils on them. If a person is wearing an unwashed hiking jacket with the oils on it and you touch it, you may develop the painful rash. The oils from poisonous plants can remain active for years meaning it has the potential to cause the rash repeatedly if the surface is not properly cleaned.

Since it is harder than simply staying away from plants with three leaves, the place to focus the attention is on limiting exposure to poison ivy plants, especially the oils. How do I fight an enemy I can’t see? What do I do after poison ivy exposure?

The best way to be safe is to take extra precautions. If your pet has recently been outdoors and has the potential to have come in contact with the plant, promptly bathe them while wearing protective gloves. Always wash clothing immediately after being in areas prone to poison ivy plants such as hiking trails and wooded areas. If you suspect you may have had exposure to the plant, it is recommended to promptly take a shower and thoroughly clean with soap in hopes of preventing the rash. Do not use warm or hot water as this may cause the oils to spread and become more active resulting in a more severe rash. Coldwater will clean the body while the soap removes the oils. It is also a safe bet to apply a topical skin barrier or rubbing alcohol to help prevent the oils from sinking into the skin.

How do I reduce sensitivity a poison ivy rash?

Most people learn at a young age about staying away from plants with three leaves because they might be poisonous. Even with knowledge and prevention hand in hand, poison ivy rashes are still common. With poison ivy continuing to affect hundreds of thousands of people a year, it is still a present threat, especially during the summer when the plant is in full bloom and more people are spending time outdoors. While the best bet to avoiding an outbreak of poison ivy rash is to avoid the plant at all costs, knowing how to reduce the sensitivity will come in handy. When it comes to poison ivy rash treatments, there are a few things to keep in mind.

The most important aspect of successful poison ivy rash treatments is being able to recognize it as soon as possible. Poison ivy rashes often begin as thin red lines caused by the leaves or red spots from the oil. This redness will spread and cause small red bumps, itching, irritation, and eventually painful blisters with white fluid inside. When it comes to poison ivy rash treatments, the first step once you have identified it as poison ivy-related is to thoroughly cleanse that area to remove oils. Do not use warm or hot water as it may cause oils to become more active or spread to other areas. If you treat the rash without properly cleaning the oils away, you are at risk for a multitude of complications, such as the rash spreading to other areas, more severe symptoms, and longer healing time.

When it comes to poison ivy rash treatments, aside from frequent showering or soaking baths, the recommended plan of action is applying an over-the-counter topical cream containing calamine. Calamine is a naturally soothing element which can calm the skin and lessen the irritation caused by poison ivy rash. Other recommendations are to take an antihistamine, such as Benadryl, to help with the reaction to the rash. It will also allow for better sleep. Another tried, and true remedy is to soak in warm baths with oatmeal which will help calm the skin while relieving the constant itching.

How long does a poison ivy rash last?

Being outdoors can be a lot of fun. With an array of outdoor activities to enjoy, from gardening and picnicking to hiking and camping, summer is a great time to spend enjoying nature. While summer can be a time of special outings and memories, it is also when poison ivy plants are at their peak bloom. Staying away from poison ivy is about more than just avoiding the plant itself. Due to the clear oils left behind on people, pets, and clothes preventing poison ivy is harder than avoiding plants with three leaves. Even with vigilance and precautions, poison ivy can strike nearly anyone. If you have developed the painful rash associated with this plant, you may have some questions. Am I contagious to the people around me? How long does a poison ivy rash last?

While poison ivy is an unsightly rash with redness and blisters, the good news is that it is not contagious. The only way for you to spread the rash to those you come in contact with is if there are still oils from the plant on your skin. When dealing with poison ivy rashes, it is advised to wash the rash with cold water daily and apply an over-the-counter topical to the skin to relieve itching and act as a barrier. As long as you have washed your skin thoroughly, you should not be a threat to others. The most important thing to help prevent poison ivy rashes from becoming more severe or causing them to last longer is to cleanse the affected area thoroughly. The powerful oils can remain active for years, so it is crucial to make sure you have removed it from your skin.

If you have the unfortunate experience of developing the rash, you just want the painful irritation to be over. How long does a poison ivy rash last? In most cases, poison ivy rashes is a mild reaction that will last anywhere from 5 days to 12 days, depending on the individual and the amount of toxin they were exposed to prior to washing their skin. Poison ivy allergies of a more severe nature can lead some individuals to suffer through the rash for an entire 30-day period or longer.

How long does the oil from poison ivy last?

Nature can be a beautiful place to unwind and relax, whether hiking through your favorite trail, tending to your garden, or having a picnic in the park. However, there are dangers lurking in the majesty of nature. Poison ivy plants can cause painful rashes resulting in irritated skin, red bumps, itchiness, and blisters. While many people think they know enough about poison ivy plants to keep themselves safe, there are a few questions most do not think to ask. Can poison ivy be spread from person to person? If it is contagious, how do I prevent it? Is it true the oils are the most dangerous part? How long does the oil from poison ivy last?

When it comes to poison ivy, many people underestimate the effect of the oils emitted from these plants. While most people falsely believe the only way to catch the rash caused by poison ivy is to come into direct contact with the plant, the truth is actually much scarier. You do not need to come in contact directly with the plant to develop the painful effects. In some ways, the oils are seen as worse than the plant that produces them.

The reason the oils of poison ivy are seen as the worst part is that they allow people to become inflicted by the plant without direct contact. These oils are clear and mostly odorless so they can go undetected. Whether on a person’s clothes or in the fur of a pet, these oils can cause the rash to affect people with no contact with the plant itself. Even worse, poison ivy oil is the strongest part of the plant in terms of potency. Oils from poisonous plants can live for years on certain surfaces! For example, if you touch a tent that came in contact with poison ivy oils years before, you may develop the rash without ever being anywhere near the plant.

The way in which people who have no contact with the plant can develop the rash has led to people erroneously thinking that poison ivy rashes are contagious. The good news is these rashes are not spreadable. However, if the person with the rash still has oils on their skin, it is possible to develop the rash yourself from touching these oils.

What does a poison ivy plant look like?

When it comes to staying safe from the painful effects of poisonous plants, you need to know the appearance of them. While there are three main poisonous plants to worry about, poison ivy, oak, and sumac, they display some very basic warning signs to tell you to keep away. Poison ivy is the most common of the three plants. It is so widespread that it grows in all of North America, with the exception of Alaska, Hawaii, and Newfoundland in Canada.

What does poison ivy look like? Poison ivy is easily recognized by the three leaves rule. A generally accepted rule is that if a plant has three leaves, it is poisonous. However, the shape of the leaves combined with the number of leaves is the true indicator of potential danger. There are many plants with three leaves that are nonpoisonous, and poison ivy can actually have more than the typical leaves of three. This is why it is important to pay attention to the shape of the leaves. With poison ivy, the leaves will be shaped in broad, oval shapes some call spoons. The edges will have an almost jagged appearance as opposed to a smooth one. The color of the leaves can be green or red when the plant is young. In fact, poison ivy leaves can change with the seasons just like nonpoisonous plants and trees.

When identifying potential poison ivy, it is essential to know not just the look of the leaves, but also the forms the plant can take. Poison ivy can grow on the ground like a vine, up walls and trees as a vine, and as a ground shrub. When dealing with poison ivy in any of these forms, remember to look at not just the number of leaves, but also the shape. What if you are dealing with a potentially dangerous poison ivy plant with no visible leaves to alert you to the danger? Many times poison ivy will not have any leaves during the off-seasons when it is not in full bloom. It is still a danger, even without leaves, and being able to identify the vines of poison ivy can help in removal efforts. Be on the lookout for vines with small clusters of white berries or white flowers. In the spring, most vines take on this appearance when preparing to sprout leaves. Even without the presence of leaves, care should be taken to avoid the poison ivy vine.

Where does poison ivy grow?

As the most widespread poisonous plants in existence, poison ivy is nearly everywhere. Poison ivy plants can lead to painful, blistering rashes lasting for weeks in some cases. While most people think they can avoid an outbreak by simply staying away from nature, poison ivy prevention is more complicated than avoiding certain areas.

Where Does Poison Ivy Grow?

Poison ivy grows in every state in America with the exception of California, Alaska, and Hawaii. It also grows in every territory in Canada with the exception of Newfoundland. Chances are you live in a state or territory where this dangerous plant is quite common. Poison ivy is a robust plant, and it grows well in a variety of climates. In the winter, the leaves disappear leaving a brown vine behind. In the spring, the vine turns green, and white berries or flowers begin to appear. In summer, the plant is in full bloom with the leaves at their highest levels of potency. In the fall, the leaves change colors just like non-poisonous trees and plants. Poison ivy is a threat nearly all year long, whether you live in a state with a mild climate or extreme climate.

While many think poison ivy is confined to remote areas in the woods, poison ivy can grow in a variety of settings. Poison ivy can grow in the woods which is why many campers and hikers are prone to poison ivy reactions. While poison ivy can be found in the woods, it is more commonly found in what is called disturbed land. Disturbed land is any land that has been touched or manipulated by humans, such as backyards and gardens. City dwellers are not safe from this plant. Poison ivy can even grow in city settings on pathways and along sidewalks, as well as in parks mixed among the landscaping.

Aside from the many places, it can grow, poison ivy can take on different forms. It can grow as a shrub in your front yard. It can grow as a vine running up the building walls of your office or the fence in our backyard. It can even sprout up in between sidewalks in a bustling downtown area.

What are symptoms of poison ivy?

Spring and summer are the best time to spend enjoying the great outdoors. Whether going on a camping adventure with friends or having a backyard BBQ with the family, spending time in nature is a favorite pastime of America. However, underneath the fun and relaxation lurks an enemy waiting to strike. Poison ivy runs rampant in nearly every state and territory in North America and is in full bloom during these warmer months. Many times poison ivy grows in backyards unnoticed or confused with a nonpoisonous plant. If you come into contact with poison ivy, you will most likely develop a rash. In fact, 9 out of 10 people have a reaction of varying degrees from mild to severe. What are the symptoms of poison ivy?

Poison ivy symptoms range from a mildly uncomfortable experience to a deadly nightmare depending on the intensity of your allergy and amount of exposure to the plant.
The common symptoms of poison ivy include:

  • Redness

Redness is often first seen as streaks or splotches where the oil came into contact with the skin.  The skin will remain red as the skin becomes irritated and inflamed from the rash.

  • Itching

One of the most irritating aspects of poison ivy rash is the constant itching. Scratching the infected area will only make the skin more inflamed.

  • Swelling

The infection site may experience swelling depending on the severity of the allergic reaction.

  • Blisters

These are usually fluid-filled and incredibly painful. While it may be tempting to pop them in an attempt to relieve the pain, it is not recommended. Doing so can actually make your reaction worse and open you up to new infections.

  • Difficulty Breathing

If poison ivy plants burn, either from a brush fire or a person incorrectly removing it from their property, you can breathe these toxins in and have a severe reaction. Airways will swell making it hard to breathe. This can be a serious concern and should be treated by a medical professional immediately.

In general, poison ivy can be treated effectively at home using over-the-counter remedies. If you have a severe allergy to the plant, you may need to seek prompt medical attention. If you have trouble breathing, a rash affecting the facial region, a fever develops, or if the reaction is widespread affecting more than one area of the body, you should seek medical attention.

How do you clean clothes after poison ivy exposure?

If you have come in contact with poison ivy either by accident or through an attempt at removing poison ivy from your property, there are certain things to remember about the dangers of poison ivy. While most people believe the leaves are the cause of the painful rash associated with poison ivy, it is actually the oil the plant secretes. The oil, called urushiol, cannot only remain on clothing for years while still being potent enough to cause rashes, but it is also impossible to detect. When you or someone in your home has contracted a poison ivy rash or has come into contact with the plant, you need to properly wash the clothing worn during the encounter. However, it is not as simple as throwing it in the washer like normal clothing.

How to Safely Clean Clothes 

  • Always wear gloves when handling clothes suspected of coming in contact with poison ivy. 
  • Wash clothing separate from clothing free from potential contamination. 
  • Do not overload the washer. Clothes need to be able to move around freely in the water for a thorough cleaning. 
  • Use regular detergent and wash on hot. Hot water can help break down the oils. 
  • Dry as usual. 
  • While the hot water should have properly removed the oils, a precautionary step many decide to take is to clean the washer after washing poison ivy clothing to avoid the slightest possibility of further issues. To do this simply run a hot wash with a cup of bleach. 
  • For shoes that are machine washable, repeat the same steps as clothing. 
  • For shoes that are not machine washable, while wearing gloves apply a mixture of hot water and laundry soap with a sponge. Discard the sponge and allow shoes to dry. 
  • Always discard of any gloves worn when handling contaminated clothing or shoes. 

As long as you follow these steps when dealing with clothing worn during an encounter, you should cut down your poison ivy rash risks greatly. It should be noted that the oils can be spread easily and cause a painful rash. If you use an outside cleaning service or a dry cleaner, make sure you let them know about the poison ivy concern to avoid any issues.