Poison Ivy: Here’s What You Need to Know

Own A Home or Cottage in The Kawarthas, Peterborough, or Buckhorn Area?

Use the following tips to identify if you have Poison Ivy on your property, and learn what to do if it gets on you, a family member, or friend.

Poison Ivy cluster of three leaflets
Poison Ivy: Notice the cluster of three leaflets.

How Do I Know It’s Poison Ivy?

If the plant in question has the following 4 characteristics, stay away, it’s Poison Ivy.

  1. Clusters of three leaflets
  2. Alternate leaf arrangement (leaf attachments are singular and leaves alternate directions, to a greater or lesser degree, along the stem).
  3. Lack of thorns
  4. Each group of three leaflets grows on its own stem, which connects to the main vine

Should I Be Concerned?

We’ve all heard of how contact with Poison Ivy can cause itchiness and irritation. But what actually causes the itchiness from Poison Ivy?

All parts of the Poison Ivy plant, including the roots, contain the poisonous resin urushiol. Contact with any broken part of the plant could cause a reaction. But the extent of a reaction depends on the person’s sensitivity and the amount of sap that came in contact with their skin. You would have to physically come into contact with the sap or a surface that has picked up sap from the plant (like the fur of an animal) to have a reaction.

Poison Ivy Sap
The Poison Ivy plant’s sap can cause rashes, hives and other allergic reactions on contact.

I Might Have Rubbed Up Against Poison Ivy. What Should I Do?

Immediately wash any areas of your skin that might have come in contact with Poison Ivy using soap and cold water.

Hot water will open the pores, increasing the chances of the resin being absorbed into your skin. If soap isn’t available, use vinegar (2 tablespoons in 1 cup of water) or alcohol (1/2 cup to 1/2 cup of water). Washing with soap and cold water may not prevent a reaction, but it will help prevent the infection from spreading.

If a reaction does develop, see your doctor for treatment. Skin irritation and itching from Poison Ivy contact normally disappears in 7 to 15 days.

If you have identified Poison Ivy on your property and would like to have it effectively killed & removed, contact Miller Pest Control.