7 Tips to Prevent Poison Ivy Rashes

Some people like chocolate, some people like vanilla. Nobody likes poison ivy. Poison ivy can cause rashes year round, but it’s especially bad during the summer months. Here are a few tips to prevent poison ivy rashes.

Learn to identify poison ivy

This is one of the most helpful things that you can do to prevent poison ivy rashes. Learning how to properly identify poison ivy allows you to avoid it, and therefore prevent the oils from getting on your skin. It’s this oil – called urushiol – that causes the allergic reaction.

Observe your surroundings

Knowing how to identify poison ivy is great, but it doesn’t amount to much if you don’t watch your step. Learning what poison ivy looks like is only half to battle. Always observe your surroundings and avoid touching poison ivy plants.

Wear long sleeves and pants

You know what poison ivy looks like, you scan for the vile little three-leaved plant like a hawk, and you still get poison ivy rashes. You can’t always avoid touching poison ivy, and sometimes urushiol can find its way onto plants that would otherwise be safe to touch.

Wear protective clothing – long sleeves and pants – to help keep urushiol off your skin.

Stick to the trails

It’s possible to come into contact with poison ivy even if you stay on the path. Poison ivy grows thick during the summer, and it sometimes crowds hiking trails. Still, there’s less poison ivy on the trail than in the forest undergrowth.

Remove the oils in the backcountry

Removing urushiol from your skin as quickly as possible can help prevent poison ivy rashes, or decrease the severity of a rash.

Carry wipes, biodegradable camping soap, or rubbing alcohol to remove oils from your skin while you’re still in the backcountry.

Take a shower

Shower as soon as you get home. Some people are more susceptible to poison ivy than others. Some say poison ivy oils start penetrating the skin within 10-15 minutes, others say 30 minutes, and still others say upwards of an hour. Scrubbing with soap to remove poison ivy oil from your skin can help prevent poison ivy rashes.

Clean gear

Urushiol can stay on your clothes, tents, hiking packs, boots, etc. for months and cause poison ivy rashes long after you’ve come into contact with the plant.

Wash clothes and outdoor gear immediately when you get home to prevent spreading the oil and prevent rashes from occurring.

Looking for outdoor gear in Northwest Arkansas? Come check out our store for hiking gear, camping equipment, and everything you need to spend time outdoors!

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