Have you ever had a
mysterious poison ivy or oak rash pop up and you can't figure out
how you got that? You didn't go camping, take a hike in the woods,
or even venture outdoors.
Well it's because of how the plant causes the rash. Your body
has an allergic reaction to the oil found in all parts of the plant
called urushiol (pronounced oo-roo-she-all). That oil can
stay very potent for a very long period of time and can travel on
any other surface that it may have come in contact with.
Here are 6 ways you can get a poison oak and ivy rash without
even touching the plants:
1) From your dog, cat or other furry
friend. Your pets may love to explore the outdoors and
they have this wonderful layer of fur that protects them from the
irritating poison plant oil, urushiol. Fur is also a perfect
surface for urushiol to stick to. So the next time your pets rub
against your legs, or you bend down to pat them on the head, you
can come in contact with the oil.
2) Gardening tools and
gloves. If you have used your gardening tools or gloves
around poison ivy or oak, it is possible urushiol has been left on
the surface of them. Urushiol can sit on your gardening tools
for years so the next time you are in contact with them, you can
pick up the oil.
3) Lawn mower or weed
whacker. When plowing through or hacking down poison ivy
or oak, urushiol can stick to your lawn mower or weed whacker and
transfer to you the next time you mow the lawn.
4) Washing clothing. This is
a common complaint from families of outdoor workers. Urushiol can
sit on clothing that you wear when trekking through poison ivy or
oak and the person who washes the clothes unknowingly comes in
contact with the oil.
5) Mountain bike. You rode
through a vegetable tunnel surrounded by poison oak. Urushiol can
stick to your bike as well as your skin so the next time you go out
for your ride you are in contact with urushiol.
6) Airborne. It is extremely
dangerous to burn poison ivy or oak as the urushiol can become
airborne. One way this happens unintentionally is when dead poison
ivy or oak is wrapped around firewood. Inhaling this oil can result
in a severe reaction, so if you think you have inhaled urushiol it
is important to see a physician.
Urushiol can be cleaned off of many of these items using Tecnu Original Outdoor Skin
Click here for instructions.