Got an itch? Don't scratch it.

Have you ever come in contact with poison ivy, or poison oak?  Are you allergic to these poisonous plants?  If so, be careful working in your yard.  These are two dangerous plants that grow wild, and are difficult for most people to identify.

It only takes a few hours for the symptoms to begin.  It starts with an itch that just won’t go away.  The itch turns into a rash.  The rash becomes blisters.  The blisters burn like fire.

According to the American Skin Association, about 85% of the population is allergic to poison ivy, and/or poison oak.  About 10-15% are extremely allergic.  This is the most common form of allergic reaction in the United States. 

This can be more dangerous during the summer, especially in Alabama, because people like to get out in their yards and work.  Some people, in Huntsville, hire a professional lawn care service to do the work for them.  These people need to make sure the company they hire does more than just mow the grass.  They should be able to identify both poison ivy, and poison oak, and eliminate it from their property. 

It’s a good idea to educate yourself about what poison ivy, and poison oak look like so you can avoid them.  If you accidentally come in contact with either plant, you will definitely be uncomfortable for a while.  A good way to prevent contact is to wear long sleeve shirts, pants, and gloves while working on your yard.


Poison Ivy grows everywhere in the United States, except in Alaska and Hawaii.  It can look like a vine or a shrub on the ground.  It can also climb on low plants and trees.  The leaves are red in spring, green in summer, and yellow/orange in the fall.

Poison Oak grows in the Southern United States as a low shrub and as a long vine. The leaves are green and grow in clusters of three.

If you come in contact with poison ivy, or poison oak, and a rash or blister forms, make sure not to scratch.  Wash yourself in cold water as soon as possible. Also, try an over the counter product like calamine lotion, or Ivarest.