Poison Ivy, Oak & Sumac Page

Poison Ivy A climbing vine with three serrated-edge, pointed leaves grows in the East, Midwest and South. In the northern and western states, poison ivy grows as a non-climbing shrub. This plant is widespread throughout Missouri. Find out more about "Missouri's most irritating plant".

Poison Oak Poison oak also has three leaves. Unlike poison ivy, both sides of all three leaflets of poison oak have distinct notches. The surest way to positively identify poison oak is by its seeds and berries. Unlike the smooth, waxy berries of poison ivy, poison oak berries are hairy. The seeds are yellow to cream color and grow on stalks like grapes. It grows in the sandy soil of the Southeast as a small shrub. In the western United States poison oak is a very large plant which grows as a standing shrub or climbing vine. Poison oak mostly grows south of a line from Kansas to New Jersey. * The plant is native to Missouri but has only been documented in Douglas, Mississippi, Ozark, Scott, Shannon, and Taney counties. Even within these counties, poison oak is rare. *

Poison Sumac A shrub or bush with two rows of 7 - 13 leaflets; most common in the peat bogs of the Northern United States and in swampy Southern regions of the country. * NOT FOUND IN MISSOURI *

Signs & Symptons

Symptoms of poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac dermatitis include red welts and blisters on exposed areas of skin. These areas may have burning and itching that ranges from mild to severe. Not everyone is allergic to the plants oil urushiol. If the uroshiol from the plant touches the skin of someone who is allergic to it, it starts a reaction that results in blisters. This reaction is known as an allergic contact dermatitis. The outbreak of the reaction starts at the spot on the skin where the urushiol touched it. Once the urushiol has been thoroughly washed off the skin, no further spread of the dermatitis can occur. Worst stage of the rash is experienced 4 to 7 days after exposure. Rash may last for 1 to 3 weeks.

Self-Care/First Aid:

Make sure you wash all clothes and shoes with hot water and a strong soap. Also, bathe pets who have come in contact with poison ivy, oak or sumac. The sap can stay on pets for many days.

Keep your hands away from your eyes, mouth and face.

Do not scratch or rub the rash.

Apply any of these to the skin rash:

1) Calamine Lotion (not Caladryl)

2) Zinc Oxide Ointment

3) Paste made with baking soda - mix 3 teaspoons of baking soda with 1 teaspoon of water

4) Take a bath with lukewarm water and an over-the-counter product called Aveeno colloidal oatmeal

5) Take an over-the-counter antihistamine such as Benadryl, as stated on the label

6) Try Zanfel Poison Ivy, Oak & Sumac topical solution. Relieves the itch and pain in 30 seconds! Many have reported this to be the ALL NEW QUICK CURE. Pricey at $35 per tube, but possible well worth it. Click HERE for more info., including testimonials and click HERE to locate a store that sells it.


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