A common question we hear about poison
ivy and oak is, "How do I prevent poison ivy and oak rash in the
first place?" This is a really common question if you have
had to deal with it several times in one year.
So, here are five of the best ways to avoid getting poison ivy
and oak rash in the first place:
1) Understand how you get the rash so you'll understand
why you are getting it. The cause of poison ivy, oak and
sumac rash is your body's allergic reaction to oil produced by the
plant called urushiol (pronounced oo-roo-she-all). Urushiol
is found in every fiber of the plants and will cause the rash in
most people if it gets on the skin and is not removed.
Urushiol attaches itself to skin and becomes extremely difficult to
remove after about 15 minutes, even with soap and water. Tecnu Original and Tecnu Extreme
are cleansers that unlock the bond of urushiol with the skin to
remove the oil.
2) When vacationing to outdoor recreation areas, be sure
to stay on established paths and trails. Families love to
head to favorite outdoor hiking, camping and boating areas in the
spring and summer. Children, and some young-at-heart adults,
like to wander down paths that have not been heavily used or
regularly maintained. Unfortunately some of those trails are
overgrown with vegetation that may contain poison ivy, oak and
sumac plants. Local, State and Federal Parks have established
trails that are marked clearly, so stay on those and you should be
3) Learn what the plants and bushes really look like in
an outdoor setting and avoid them. Many people know what
the leaf of each plant looks like but few know what those leaves
look like as part of a bush. Also, the plants can change
color during the season varying from green to bright red.
Poison ivy and oak have leaflets of three petals, while poison
sumac has leaflets of seven to thirteen. Sometimes the plants
have clumps of berries visible, and sometimes they do not.
The more familiar you are with the plants, the less chance you'll
have contacting the rash. See our photos of poison ivy,
oak and sumac for reference.
Leaves of three, let them be.
4) Wear proper clothing covering as much exposed skin as
possible. Although the rash causing oil from the plants
can permeate through thin clothing, you are much better off when
you cover up. Wear gloves, a long sleeve shirt and pants if
it's comfortable. Some very sensitive people have been known
to tape over the area where gloves and long shirt sleeves come
together since this is a prime area for the rash to start.
Remember that urushiol will attach to any type of clothing,
gloves, boots, equipment, tools, etc. and those items will be
contaminated with the oil. This can result in you coming in contact
with the poison ivy or oak oil later when you touch these items and
possibly cause a rash. Therefore, be sure to wash any item that may
have come in contact with the plants. Tecnu Original is the only
poison ivy and oak cleanser on the market you can use
to remove urushiol from all of these surfaces.
5) Remove urushiol from you skin as soon as possible
after being exposed to the plants. The best way to prevent
a poison ivy, oak or sumac rash is to not have the rash causing
urushiol on your skin. Tecnu Original and Tecnu Extreme are designed to be used
within 2-8 hours after exposure, but the sooner you use it the
better the results. Know that every person's reaction to urushiol
is different depending on their body's sensitivity to the oil. Also
multiple encounters with urushiol may result in a different outcome
for the same person. Some people become more sensitive to poison
ivy, oak and sumac the more often they are exposed to the