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  • Writer's pictureDavid Faciana, Owner

How to Spot Poison Ivy – And What to Do if Dad is Affected

During the summer months most people spend more time outdoors, including older adults. Unfortunately, that can mean coming into contact with some of nature’s hazards, like poison ivy. Poison ivy grows in almost every state in the country, so if your aging parent isn’t sure how to identify it, they could have a brush with the skin irritating plant.

Home Care in Strongsville OH: How to Spot Poison Ivy
Home Care in Strongsville OH: How to Spot Poison Ivy

Identifying Poison Ivy.

You may have heard the saying “leaves of three, let it be.” It’s a good rule to remember because poison ivy does, indeed, have three leaves. It grows low to the ground, like a kind of ground cover, but some kinds of poison ivy grow as vines that climb up trees or as shrubs. But, all kinds of poison ivy have leaves that grow in groups of three.

The leaves themselves can either be shiny or have no shine at all. The vines of the plant have tiny hairs on them, which are actually aerial roots, so they look fuzzy.

During the summer, poison ivy produces a flower that is yellowish in color. Later, it bears a white berry. The leaves turn red and yellow in the autumn.

Avoiding a Poison Ivy Rash.

Poison ivy can cause a nasty, itchy rash. The rash is a result of an oil the plant produces, called urushiol. Not everyone is affected by the oil, but about 86 percent of people develop a rash after touching the plant.

The best way to deal with a poison ivy rash is to prevent it in the first place. Some ways older adults can avoid getting a poison ivy rash are:

  • Stay away from places the plant grows.

  • Wear long pants, closed toe shoes, and socks when walking in areas where poison ivy may grow.

  • Bathe pets that have touched or rolled in the plant immediately. Wear rubber gloves while doing so.

  • Wash yard tools or other items that might have touched poison ivy with warm water and soap.

If your parent does accidentally touch poison ivy, WebMD recommends washing skin immediately. Doing so within an hour of touching poison ivy can reduce the rash. A home care provider can help the senior to do that. Once a rash does appear, a home care provider can help with easing the symptoms by applying a cold compress. Applying lotion to the area may also help. If the rash is on a part of the body that is difficult for the older adult to reach, a home care provider can assist with putting the lotion on.

If you or an aging loved-one are considering home care in Strongsville, OH, please talk to the caring staff at Avalon Home Health Care today. Call us at (440) 863 -3609.


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