East Texans reminded to be aware of poison ivy when doing yardwork
LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - Warmer weather means anyone with a yard or property has begun the regular job of mowing, edging and weeding. But, that can put you in striking distance of a very nasty plant: poison ivy.
As we perform yard work, pulling weeds is a common practice, but poison ivy and the oil it contains poses a danger.
“Poison ivy is a big one. It’s a volatile oil, so it can get on your skin and stay there quite comfortably. The problem of course is when you don’t know when you’ve gotten into it,” said horticulturist Stephen Chamblee of the Longview Arboretum.
Some landowners see it quite often.
“It’ll be like a vine growing on a fence post, fence rails, anything like that,” said Upshur County landowner Madison Bauman.
Once the oil from the plant gets on you, it first presents as a burning, itching rash, and later painful blisters.
“All parts of the plant are poisonous. The vine, the leaves, the roots, every bit of it,” Chamblee said.
It’s identified by two characteristics: its three distinct leaves and a reddish vine.
“Leaves of three, let it be. It will have reddish on the petial, the stem,” Stephen said.
It grows quickly and moves a lot like other crawling vines like honeysuckle. And, it can be life threatening.
“Friend of mine’s uncle set it on fire. Wind shifted and blew that cloud of smoke over him. He actually ended up dying from poison ivy of the lungs,” said Chamblee.
“I’m not allergic to it, but some of my family is, and they break out big time,” Bauman said.
So, when weeding, wear gloves.
“It always comes back,” said Bauman.
There are several ways to treat poison ivy, the most popular being Calamine lotion, applying cold compresses or using Aloe Vera gel.
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