Do you live in the country or in the city?
If you’re in the city, you probably like the quick pace of life, the numerous activities there are to do and the bristling sense of culture. On the other hand, those who live in the culture get a chance to kick their feet back, relax and get in touch with nature. Still, living in the woods mean you may be more likely to run into natural threats as well—things like poison ivy, for example.
As anyone who’s ever accidentally grabbed poison ivy knows, the result is very unpleasant.
For those who don’t know, poison ivy is a very common poisonous plant found all over the East Coast of the United States.
In general, it’s easy enough to identify poison ivy. To avoid it, you have to look out for leaves that grow in groups of three with pointed tips. Beyond that, they’re more commonly out in the fall, they’re generally reddish-orange in the fall and can also have little white berries on them in the spring through winter. Still, there’s actually a way to touch poison ivy without even being harmed by it or developing a rash.
And we’re going to show you how.
In a video that has recently gone viral, one man explains the full process of how to avoid getting a rash from poison ivy.
As it turns out, the man in question is a scientist named JH Brauker who has studied skin inflammation and understands how poison ivy actually works. Part of what makes poison ivy such an irritant to human skin is because it releases a chemical called urushiol. It’s this chemical that makes the leaves greasy and causes inflammation.
Additionally, you don’t even have to actually touch a plant to come in contact with the harmful chemical.
Because of that, the trick to avoiding poison rash comes from knowing how to deal with urushiol rather than the plant.
According to Brauker, the chemical urushiol actually isn’t all too different from something like axle grease from a car. Like axle grease, urushiol is a slippery, greasy compound that can get on you from all kinds of different sources—and it can be very difficult to wash off. Just like poison ivy, it’s important to get the chemical off of your bare skin before it has time to react with it.
What many people don’t know is that the window to was urushiol off without getting a reaction is actually quite long.
If you’ve come in contact with poison ivy, you have about two to eight hours to clean the affected areas.
Although this seems incredibly simple, it’s actually a little harder than it seems. Washing yourself with hot water isn’t usually enough to get everything off of your skin. To get it all off, you’ll want to use a cleaner of some kind to help cut through it. Although normal bar soap will help a little bit, poison ivy cleaners might work even better. Strangely enough, Dawn dishwashing soap may actually work the best of all.
Regardless, it takes more than just cleaning product to get the chemicals off!
Above all, you’ll need to use plenty of friction when you’re washing off any skin affected by urushiol.
Even if you don’t have any cleaning chemicals handy, using a damp washcloth the right way is enough to make sure you don’t get a bad rash. The general method you should follow is to wet a washcloth and apply soap of some kind to the areas you think were affected. Scrub long and hard and make sure to get any areas were hit and any you think may have been hit—be very thorough! After you’ve done this process, repeat it two more times to be entirely sure.
If you follow this process every time, you should be able to completely avoid poison ivy related rashes in the future.
The main lesson to take away from all of this is that it isn’t actually touching a plant that causes poison ivy rash—it’s not washing after!
If you’re out in the woods and you brush up against a strange plant that irritates your skin, don’t panic. All you have to do is go home and wash thoroughly and without cross-contaminating your skin. Although everyone has different levels of susceptibility to skin rashes like these, taking the right precautions and being thorough when washing up can easily prevent any nasty outbreaks. Above all, don’t worry if you accidentally brush up against one of these plants. Just be aware whenever you go out in the woods, do the right things to clean up and you should be safe whenever you go outside.
Have you tried this method for yourself? Let us know how it worked out for you.
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