HealthCheck

Healthcheck: Dealing with poison ivy

Friday, May 24, 2013

Umar Mycka isn't your average gardener.

"I'm a poison ivy horticulturalist," he says, "a gardener who specializes in poison ivy removal."

What Mycka does makes other cringe: wading into backyards and parks filled with the poisonous plant, and digging it out.

He says that while most people can identify its "leaves of three," they don't understand how it grows, so they get rashes over and over again.

For one thing, it takes root fast, and spreads quickly. A 2-year-old plant can have a 20-foot vine.

In one yard, a handful of sprigs above ground were hiding a 30-foot vine just below the soil.

"It was under the shrubs," said Mycka, "under the English ivy. It was under pachysandra. Weed killer only killed the top leaves, not the vine below."

About 85 percent of us have a reaction to the oil that's on poison ivy's leaves and vines.

"It does penetrate your skin," says Mycka. "It goes into the lower layers of the skin, and it combines with a protein in the skin. You want to get that off before it happens."

Mycka says you've got about 10 minutes to wash it off with lots of soap and water, or wipe it off with rubbing alcohol.

If you do get a rash, contrary to common belief, it won't spread if you scratch those itchy blisters.

But it will be with you for awhile. It takes 8 days to peak before it diminishes.

Experts remind us that there is normally a boom in poison ivy cases over Memorial Day weekend  so beware!

RELATED LINKS:

Umar Mycka's website: idontwantpoisonivy.com

(Copyright ©2014 WPVI-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

Get more HealthCheck »


Tags:
lifestyle, health care, healthcheck, ali gorman, r.n.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Advertisement