What are symptoms of breathing smoke from burned poison ivy?

Removing poison ivy requires proper knowledge of how to handle the plant safely. Some people think the fastest and easiest way to remove poison ivy 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. 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. There are some symptoms of breathing smoke from burned poison ivy to be aware of if you suspect you are at risk.

Difficulty Breathing

This symptom should never be ignored! Poison ivy can get into your throat and lungs causing inflamed airways that make breathing painful. While this inflammation can be painful enough to seek treatment, 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 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.


A fever is a common symptom of inhaling poison ivy. 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 attention. When it comes to breathing in harmful toxins, it is always better to be safe than sorry!

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