If you are walking your dog in the country you already know about the risk of encountering Poison Ivy. I was aware of the possibility and was making sure not to touch it but I still got it! If I caught it, can my dogs get it too? I want to share my story so more dog walkers will be spared the agony.

I walk my dogs and the neighbor's dogs along a country road and we do not venture in the forest and I thought I was safe so when I saw that rash on my arm I thought I had been bitten by insects. Very hungry insects. I had the same on my right eyebrow. I applied Lavender essential oil on it but it did not help. Usually when I burn myself and I put a few drops on the blister, it heals up in 24 hours, but not this time so I thought it was odd. The following day it started puffing up and I was wondering if it was a spider bite, it was spreading quickly.

When I showed it to my husband he recognized it was Poison Ivy so I applied Calamine lotion (omg it's like water now compared to when I was a kid!) but it was already too late; although it stopped the itch, it continued spreading. I took Benadryl for two days with no results so when my right eye was swollen shut I resolved to go to Urgent Care where they prescribed me Prednisone and a Clobetasol Proprionate ointment. It has been working, not fast enough to my liking though. Cool showers help with the itch for a while. It got real nasty with blisters; here are photos I took of my arm - I will spare you the blisters one.

We can get a Poison Ivy rash even without being in contact with poisonous plants' leaves! If an object brushed against the plant, the oil sticks to the surface and you can get some on your skin by touching it. It can also stick to your dog's fur, and transfer to your skin when you pet it. That's how I got it.

Will it bother my dogs, or the neighbor's dogs that are tied up near the woods? The Urushiol oil found in the Poison Ivy leaves do not bother them at all, but it can stay on their fur for a long time, so it is recommended to give them a bath if you suspect they have been in contact with the leaves. This cute image from TheSprucePets.com says it all.

According to GreenBelly.co, "Properly covering up doesn’t guarantee you're totally in the clear from Poison Ivy’s effects. The venomous part of Poison Ivy is actually the Urushiol oil it produces. This oil can cling to surfaces such as clothing, gloves, a pet’s fur, or even gear like backpacks and hiking boots. Thus, you don't need to come into direct contact with the plant to get hurt.

Once the oil gets on an item, the item must be thoroughly washed or the oil can remain a threat FOR UP TO FIVE YEARS. Another important thing to note is that burning a poison ivy plant may be tempting, but it is NEVER a good idea. If you do this, the toxins will become airborne and you can inhale the oil’s chemical’s, creating a case of poison ivy rash internally on your lungs.

There are plenty of fun little mantras nowadays you can memorize to help with this. A few of the most common are:

  • “Leaves of three, let it be.”

  • “Longer middle stem, beware of them.”

  • “Side leaves like mittens, they’ll itch like the dickens.”

  • “Hairy vine, no friend of mine."

  • Berries of white, best take flight.”

Thanks to this information I am now more vigilant, and chances are my dogs will get a bath more often this summer! Time for me to get more long sleeve shirts and rubber gloves.

I wish you a "itch-free" summer.

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Additional reading:



How to Get Rid of Poison Ivy

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