Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Is Poison Ivy Contagious

This question is usually asked by most people. Well the answer is not as obvious as you might believe. From a medical point of view, poison ivy is not contagious, the  fluid from the blister does not contain urushiol and therefore won’t spread the rash. Additionally, poison ivy cannot be transferred from another person unless contact was made with the urushiol that’s still on the person or the person’s clothing. From, a realistic point of view  poison ivy is contagious in the sense that if you touch someone who just came in contact with the plant and still has the Urushiol on them there is a possibility that you can get a rash.

To avoid getting a poison ivy rash, always make sure you have your skin covered when in a wooded setting and always take off clothing and wash up directly after your outing.

Causes of Poison Ivy Rash 

Poison ivy rash is caused by a clear, oily resin chemical in the sap of the poison ivy plant called urushiol. This chemical is found in the roots, leaves, stems of the poison ivy and poison oak. Urushiol is very sticky, and it can attach to your skin, equipment, tool, pet’s fur or clothing very easily. Poison Ivy reaction can be given from:

Direct contact: - directly touching the leaves, root, stem or even the berries of the plant can give you a reaction.   
Inhaling smoke from burning plants. Smoke from burning poison ivy, poison sumac and poison oak also contains the oil which can irritate your lungs and the passage to your nostril (nasal passages).

Contact with contaminated objects. Walking among poison ivy, and then later you touch your clothes, shoes, or other objects you may get some urushiol on your hands, this can be easily transferred to your face or other body parts by touching or rubbing. If the contaminated object isn't cleaned, the urushiol on it can still cause a skin reaction years later.

Risk factors of Poison

There are persons who are extremely sensitive to the oil that causes poison ivy rash; this usually runs in their family traits.
Some outdoor occupations and outdoor hobbies can definitely increase the risk of getting poison ivy rash.  I strongly advise people in the following occupation to wear the correct protect  gears to reduce the risk:

  •   Farmers
  •   Foresters
  •   Landscapers
  •   Gardeners
  •   Firefighters
  •  Construction workers 
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