- grows around lakes and streams in the Midwest and the East
- woody, ropelike vine, a trailing shrub on the ground, or a free-standing shrub
- normally three leaflets (groups of leaves all on the same small stem coming off the larger main stem), but may vary from groups of three to nine
- leaves are green in the summer and red in the fall
- yellow or green flowers and white berries
Identifying Poison Ivy
- three leaflets ('leaves of three, let it be')
- the middle leaflet has a longer stalk (petiole) than the other two
- leaflets are fatter near their base
- elliptical leaflets with slight lobes
- leaflets are all about the same size
- no thorns along the stem
- clusters of green or white berries may be present
- aerial roots may be visible on the stem
Symptoms of Poison Ivy
- an intensely itchy rash
- red bumps that often are in a straight line or streaks, from where the poison ivy plant had contact with your child's skin
- vesicles and blisters that are filled with fluid
Treating Poison Ivy Exposur
Exposures If you are exposed, according to the FDA, you should quickly (within 10 minutes):
- first, cleanse exposed areas with rubbing alcohol.
- next, wash the exposed areas with water only (no soap yet, since soap can move the urushiol, which is the oil from the poison ivy that triggers the rash, around your body and actually make the reaction worse).
- now, take a shower with soap and warm water.
- lastly, put gloves on and wipe everything you had with you, including shoes, tools, and your clothes, with rubbing alcohol and water.
Getting Rid of Poison IvyOnce you identify poison ivy, especially if it is in your back yard, you will want to get rid of it, unless it is in a part of your yard that you and your kids can simply avoid. Unfortunately, trying to get rid of poison ivy can be difficult and dangerous, since the poison ivy plants often grow back and you run the very big risk of getting exposed while trying to kill the plants.
Some options to consider to get rid of poison ivy include:
- call a professional landscaper to remove the poison ivy plants, especially if you have a lot of poison ivy in your yard.
- spray the poison ivy plants with an herbicide, such as Roundup or Ortho Poison Ivy Killer, keeping in mind that they can also kill surrounding plants too.
- manually remove the poison ivy plants, including the roots.
- repeat spraying or manually removing the poison ivy plants as they grow back.