Tips for Preventing Poison Ivy Rashes

It’s hard to avoid poison ivy in Arkansas once temperatures start to rise and the spring rains fall. Poison ivy erupts along – and sometimes in the middle of – hiking trails. It climbs up trees and rests along river banks. Poison ivy loves the Arkansas climate so much that it might even take up residence in your own backyard. This summertime nuisance creates an obvious challenge for outdoor enthusiasts in Arkansas. So how do you prevent poison ivy rashes?

Learn to identify poison ivy

This can be difficult during the winter, but it’s pretty easy during the spring and summer months. Generally speaking, the “leaves of three, let it be” advice is sound. Even if you mistake a non-poisonous plant with three leaves for a poisonous one, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Learn to identify poison oak as well, as it’s also native to Arkansas.

Avoid it

Once you know what poison ivy looks like you can steer clear of it. Unfortunately, poison ivy and poison oak don’t always look like they do in pictures. Keep your eyes open and avoid touching any plants that resemble poison oak or poison ivy.

Wear protective clothing

Even if you know what to look for, you may come in accidental contact with poison ivy or poison oak. Wear long sleeves and pants to help reduce skin exposure to these poisonous plants.

Stick to trails

Stay on designated trails and avoid trampling through plant life, especially areas with dense vegetation. Not only does this limit your exposure to poison ivy, but this is also proper trail etiquette and keeps you safe from biting insects and arachnids that carry disease.

Clean your gear

Wash clothes as soon as you get home to help prevent spreading urushiol – or the oil in poison ivy that causes allergic reactions. Urushiol can also linger on boots and backpacks, so if your gear comes in contact with poison ivy, wash it with a mild detergent to remove the rash-causing oil.

Scrub down ASAP

Shower as soon as possible. If nothing else, a quick rinsing with soap and water of the area that contacted the plant’s oils. The Mayo Clinic recommends washing with soap and water within 30 minutes of coming in contact with poison ivy to help prevent poison ivy rashes, however others suggest that you have 2-8 hours before rashes develop. If you miss this window, still rinse the oils from your skin to limit the severity of the rash!

Poison ivy washes

If you’re out on the trail or at camp and you come in contact with poison ivy, try a poison ivy wash or soap specifically designed for poison ivy. Tecnu – a popular brand of poison ivy wash – claims that using their product within 2-8 hours of poison ivy exposure will remove urushiol and prevent rashes from occurring.

Visit us at Uncle Sam’s to grab some Tecnu poison ivy wash, or any other outdoor gear or camping supplies you may need!

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