A story from cousin Eddie

By Courtney  |  Tuesday, December 20, 2016  |  , , ,  |  Leave comment

I truly come from one of THOSE families. No, not the Leave it to Beaver families, but does anyone have one of those anymore? No, I have the Clark Griswold keep you on your toes kind of family. When I leave a family gathering I usually leave with a story to tell my coworkers, but I usually don't come back with a story that actually pertains to my work. However, to my surprise this last family gathering I was wrong. I actually came back with a story that pertained to my work! 

Poison ivy in lungs, inhaled poison ivy

While we were all sitting together making small talk, someone started to ask me about work. As we were chatting, cousin Eddie* shouts "you know we have an aunt who died from poison oak!". I then had one of those cartoon double head whip "WHAT?!?!" moments. Of course my curiosity was immediately sparked and I NEEDED to know more. Apparently this aunt was burning poison oak and inhaled the fumes and subsequently died from it. Now I know that burning poison oak, ivy, and sumac is a BIG no-no, but hearing about someone who actually died from it AND who was in my family was like seeing a cat walk on its hind legs!

Now you may be wondering "what happens if you do inhale the fumes?". Well the biggest thing and the most likely outcome, is the urushiol oil is released and will travel with the smoke and you could potentially end up with a rash all over. In some cases, if the fumes are inhaled the urushiol oil coats the lining of the lungs and cause extreme respiratory difficulty and could ultimately lead to death. Unfortunately, there is no amount of Tecnu® that can fix that.

Who knows if cousin Eddie's mystery aunt story is actually true. But don't let her death or non-death not scare you. Burning poison oak, ivy, or sumac is extremely dangerous and should never happen! Please always remember to "Learn before you Burn".


* Name has been changed to protect this person's identity.

Photo courtesy of 2laneamerica.com 

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