Leaves of Three…

Leaves of Three…

Poison Ivy is common in the Baraboo hills area and is often found along the hiking trails at Devil’s Lake State Park as well as many other state trails and natural areas. For folks who are not used to identifying plants, poison ivy can seem hard to recognise. This is why that old saying, “Leaves of 3, leave it be!” is worth remembering.  From there you simply need to be aware of your surroundings and stay on the trails.

Poison Ivy, which has the awesome scientific of “Toxicodendron radicans”, is feared by hikers due to the irritating red rash it can cause if your skin comes in contact with the leaves.  For what it’s worth, according to WebMD.com, only about 85% of us are actually allergic to poison ivy.. so maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who can roll around “nekkid” in the stuff.. But is it worth the risk to find out?

Because poison ivy causes an allergic reaction, call your doctor if you have

  • Severe blistering, swelling, and itching
  • Symptoms in sensitive areas such as the eyes, lips, throat, or genitals
  • Fever
  • A rash over large areas of your body
  • A rash lasting longer than a week to 10 days
  • Blisters that become infected with pus

Get immediate medical help for any difficulty breathing or severe coughing after exposure to poison ivy!

For most of us the itching, rash and swelling will slowly go away in a couple of weeks.  If you get into it, wash your skin in warm, soapy water as soon as possible.  Wash your clothing.  Don’t scratch and give calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream a try to sooth the itching.  You may even want to try taking an antihistamine pill.  If these ideas are not helping, call your doctor.

So, have fun out on the trails but keep an eye out for poison ivy this time of year. It’s usually everywhere you want to be.

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