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Have you ever had a rash from poison ivy, oak or sumac and had
no idea how such a thing could have happened? You feel like the
poison ivy is spreading and out of control. You backtrack through
your last few days of events. It just doesn't make sense how you
could have possibly come in contact with a poison plant.
Well, you could be a victim of secondary contamination.
Poison ivy, oak and sumac rash is caused by a substance called
urushiol. Urushiol is a resinous oil that is found on all parts of
these plants including the stems, leaves and roots whether the
plants are alive or dead. It is your body's allergic reaction to
urushiol that causes the miserable, itching rash, and the severity
of the rash will vary depending on your immune system. Because
urushiol is an oily substance, it can adhere to many objects and be
difficult to wash away. When you come in contact with these
objects, you pick up the urushiol and it can turn into a rash.
Here are some of those common objects that may come in contact
- Clothing - when you are out and about and you cross poison ivy,
oak or sumac plants, urushiol can get onto your clothing. Consider
washing clothing that may have been in contact with poison plants
separately from other laundry.
- Pets - all it takes is a run through poison ivy, oak or sumac
and your furry pet has a layer of urushiol on its coat. The poison
plant oil will sit on the fur until it is washed off and you may
have no idea your pet is the cause of poison ivy spreading.
- Equipment - this can mean anything from a mountain bike to a
weed whacker. Be cautious of equipment you are using while you are
around poison plants.
- Gardening tools - most of us don't think to clean off our
gardening tools because we are using them in the dirt. Urushiol can
sit on gardening tools for years if it is not washed off.
So what is a person to do if you suspect you have an object
covered with poison ivy, oak or sumac oil? Tecnu Original Outdoor Skin
Cleanser can wash off poison plant oil from many of these
objects. Check out our instructions or videos to learn how to use