Once I get poison ivy, does my allergy change?

Many people may be surprised to learn that poison ivy rashes are not actually caused by the plant. They are caused by an individual’s allergy to the plant. Not everyone will develop the painful, blistering rash associated with the poison ivy plant after contact. While these people are lucky, they are also a minority. It is estimated that up to 85% of people have some level of allergic reaction to poison ivy. If you are one of the many routinely affected by this poisonous culprit, you may have some questions.

Do Poison Ivy Allergies Change?

The truth about poison ivy allergies is complicated. The allergy is not one you are born with like other allergies. It is acquired after the initial encounter with poison ivy. The initial encounter will not result in a rash for most people so they will falsely assume they are immune to poison ivy or have no allergy. The second encounter will determine if there is truly an absence of allergy to the plant for most people. For some individuals, the second encounter may not even be the one to trigger a rash. It may take several encounters for the first rash to occur.  In fact, people who are considered immune can actually develop an allergy to poison ivy by repeated exposure. Poison ivy allergies are always changing.

How Do I Protect Myself?

If you are one of the many affected by poison ivy allergies, there are several steps you can take to protect yourself from future rashes. The most important element is education. You should be aware of identifying factors to be aware of for poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. Being able to easily identify the leaves, stems, and vines of these plants will help you avoid them. Another great idea is to wear long pants, long sleeves, and gloves when in the areas where poison ivy is known to inhabit such as gardens and woods. Another effective method is the use of a supplement such as Rhus Toxicodendron to help your body reduce sensitivity over time. This oral solution can lessen reaction severity in as little as three doses.

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