As winter comes to a close and spring approaches, it's a great
time to brush up on your outdoor knowledge! Recently, Backpacker
Magazine published an article, "8 Wilderness Rules That are
Actually Myths" and guess what itch-inducing plant made the list?
Yep! You guessed correctly, poison ivy! So, naturally, as outdoor
lovers and the makers of Tecnu® for poison oak and ivy, it was
necessary we tag along with Backpacker and debunk these myths!
1.) Moss Grows on the North Side of Trees:
apparently this is only true in certain geographic areas. According
to Backpacker, in the Southern hemisphere the sun has a slight
northern arc, therefore, the South side of a tree provides more
shade and is the ideal place for moss to grow.
2.) All Black and Blue Berries are Safe to
Eat: Most poisonous berries are yellow, white, or red in color,
leading many foragers to believe that most black and blue berries
are safe to eat. However, berries should never be consumed unless
you can positively identify them. Backpacker gives the example of
Poke and Virginia Creeper berries, both are blue in color yet
lethal. It's imperative you do your homework!
3.) Running Water is Potable Water:
Unbeknownst to you, running water might look clean and inviting,
meanwhile, just upstream a dead animal could be contaminating the
water; or, an animal could be defecating in your "clean" water
source. This poses a whole host of problems including: parasites,
giardia, or cryptosporidium (my husband once contracted this while
water-skiing, something you definitely want to avoid!).
4.) Bears are Only Active at Dawn and Dusk:
Although rare, black and brown bears have been known to be active
at all times of day. While bears are typically known to roam around
during the twilight hours to forage, they are awake throughout most
of the day. If you cross paths with a bear, Backpacker suggests:
"…stay calm, avert eye contact, and slowly back away. Do not run,
as this may incite the bear to come closer and attack."
5.) You Can Start a Fire by Banging Any Two
Rocks Together: To successfully start a fire with rocks, you'll
need to find a rock that has flint or quartz. Next, the stone that
remains in your hand must have a groove in it to preserve the spark
long enough to successfully transfer to your tinder bundle. Not as
easy as it looks on T.V. after all!
6.) Venomous Snakes Have Triangular Heads:
According to Backpacker, because most venomous and non-venomous
snakes come in a variety of patterns, stripes, and colors,
identifying venomous vs. non-venomous on looks alone isn't the
safest method. So what should you do to stay safe? Avoid snakes
altogether unless you can positively identify the species you're
dealing with! The good news? Most snake bites occur when an
individual is intentionally handling a snake.
7.) Garlic Repels Mosquitos: While it's true
that mosquitos choose their victims by smell and sight, there
hasn't been any scientific evidence to support the garlic-claims.
According to studies, it's actually body heat and a strong output
of carbon monoxide that lures mosquitoes, making physically exerted
hikers the tastiest of snacks! In the words of Backpacker, "DEET is
still the most effective mosquito repellant hands-down." We
couldn't agree more! In fact, we suggest our 100% DEET product, The 10 Hour
Insect Repellent for your next outing!
8.) Dead or Dormant Poison Ivy Can't Hurt You:
Ah, the best for last! As the trusted name in poison oak and ivy
for over 50 years, we approve of Backpacker's breakdown of this
myth! Yes, it's true, even when the leaves have fallen, even if the
plant is dead, poison ivy (oak, and sumac) can still cause the
itchy, red rash we all dread! The culprit? Urushiol, the
rash-causing oil present in all parts of the plant (stem, roots,
leaves) that does not evaporate and can last for years! The best
way to identify poison ivy, oak, and sumac when the leaves have
fallen? Hairy vines! Just remember, "a hairy vine is no friend of
mine." Should you forgo our advice, or find yourself inadvertently
exposed to poison ivy, count on Tecnu® to get you through to
the next adventure!
It pays to do your homework before trekking into the vast
outdoors! Study up, stay safe, and don't forget the Tecnu!
Until next time,
Live life. Get outdoors.