Poisonous plants are back for the spring season

WILBRAHAM, MA (WWLP) – Now that it’s spring, all kinds of plants are back for the season including poisonous plants.

Poison ivy make look harmless, but if you touch it you could end up with all kinds of problems.

Many people get a rash from poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. This rash is caused by an oil found in the plants.

After coming in contact with the oil, about 50% of people develop signs and symptoms. The symptoms and severity differ from person to person. Symptoms usually develop within four hours to four days after exposure to the oil. They include intense itching, skin swelling and skin redness.

Poison ivy has a reddish tinge right now, but by the summer it will turn green. It tends to grow low to the ground as a shrub but it can also climb.

Landscaper, Stephen A. Roberts, said that poison ivy grows as a ground ivy as well as a vining tree.

“It can get up to 30, 40, 50 feet up into a tree. If it gets to that point and you have to have it removed I would definitely recommend doing it in the winter or having a professional do it,” said Roberts.

If you are allergic you can try to get something called ivy block.  It’s like sunblock, but instead of protecting you from the sun it protects you from the effects of poison Ivy.

Dr. John O’Reilly from Baystate Medical Center says ivy block to help prevent getting poison ivy.

“What we tend to ask them to do is to put on something called ivy block the same way you might put on sunblock so the sun doesn’t affect your skin. You put the ivy block on areas that are exposed so if you happen to rub against the oil it actually won’t penetrate,” said O’Reilly.

You can also get poison ivy from your pet.

“We also see it sometimes that the dog brings it in. That there’s a little baby and they come down with poison ivy and you say how did that happen she was hugging the dog and the dogs fur may contain it,” said O’Reilly.

If poison ivy is growing on your property you have to be very careful removing it.

“Definitely don’t burn it, just by inhaling the smoke or oils you can get a pretty bad infection inside your lungs so that’s highly discouraged to burn it. You can pull it with good protection and gloves and just be really careful,” said Roberts.

“Leaves of three, let them be” is the phrase often used to avoid poison ivy.

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