No Leaves But Still Itchy

By Lisa  |  Tuesday, October 9, 2012  |  , , ,  |  4 comments

Poison ivy in the fall can cause a rashIsn't fall is such a beautiful time of year? As the weather cools down, the outdoors becomes colorful as the leaves in the trees turn shades of orange and red. Whether you enjoy gardening or exploring a trail, poison ivy and oak can be difficult to spot this time of year as plants move into dormancy.

We have already had several calls this year from people who have stumbled across poison ivy vines without knowing it. As the weather gets colder, poison ivy and oak plants will lose their leaves so it is difficult to identify the plant (no "leaves of three"). There is a common misconception that the vines do not carry the rash-causing oil, urushiol, but they actually do.

If you are working on yard cleanup, you may want to take advantage of this time of year to try to remove poison ivy or oak from your property. Remember that the roots of the plants also contain urushiol so you will want to protect yourself from coming in contact with those as well.

Here are some tips to help you stay away from poison oak or poison ivy in the fall:

  • Always wear gloves and long sleeves with handling yard debris. After you are finished, you can clean your gloves with Tecnu Original Outdoor Skin Cleanser to remove any urushiol oil that may be on them.
  • Wash clothing that may have been in contact with poison ivy or oak separate from other clothing with a strong degreasing detergent. You can also use Tecnu Original to help remove urushiol from your clothes.
  • When pulling plants from the ground that might be poison ivy or oak, wrap plastic bags around the plants first before pulling them out. Plastic grocery bags work well for this. Dispose of the plants inside the plastic bags.
  • Consider purchasing specialized sprays at your local home improvement store to kill off poison ivy and oak in your yard. There are many options specifically for poison ivy and oak.
  • If you are out exploring and notice leafless vines, don't touch them. They could be poison ivy or oak plants.
  • Poison ivy and oak plants will turn orange and red like other plants do in the fall. Remember to check for "leaves of three" before touching them.

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4 comments for “No Leaves But Still Itchy”

  1. Posted 6/17/2014 at 4:53:25 PM
    Gravatar of Steve

    My wife thinks that she has picked up some poison ivy from touching our metal gate that accesses the alley. There is poison ivy in the yard next to ours, but it doesn't touch the gate. Is there any way that it could have gotten on the gate?

  2. Posted 6/25/2014 at 7:33:15 AM
    Gravatar of Caileen

    Steve: It is certainly possible that the poison ivy could've come into contact with your gate at some point. Whether an animal picked up the urushiol oil and carried it to the gate, a bird transferred it, or another person, etc. There are numerous possibilities. You can use Tecnu Original Outdoor Skin Cleanser to wipe down the gate to remove any urushiol oil that may remain on it. Simply saturate a cloth in Tecnu, and thoroughly wipe down the gate. You can follow up with a cloth saturated with water to remove any excess Tecnu.

  3. Posted 7/17/2015 at 7:38:24 AM
    Gravatar of linda

    I am a hairdresser with pi on my arms and body. I thought I could spread it by skin contact to patrons I
    Is this not true? I would not want to have one of my patrons catch this from me. Should I stay away just in case?

  4. Posted 7/27/2015 at 2:28:56 PM
    Gravatar of Caileen

    Linda, The answer is likely, no. If you have used a cleanser like Tecnu® to remove the rash-causing oil, urushiol, there's no reason to worry. If you haven't used a cleanser to remove the poison ivy oil, but you've had a few showers since you came into contact with the plants, it is likely gone from your skin. Lastly, if you have already broken out in a rash, that usually means all of the oil has already been absorbed into your system and likely is no longer on the surface of the skin.

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