How to get rid of poison ivy tells about the methods or processes for getting rid of poison ivy that might or already growing in your backyard or front yard. Because it can be an unwelcome weed that can cause skin rashes upon contact, it’s helpful to make remedies and methods to prevent its growth and recurrence in your yard.
What Is Poison Ivy?
Poison ivy, also known as Toxicodendron radicans in its scientific name is not a true ivy but rather a member of the pistachio and cashew family. It’s common as an unwelcome weed that can cause blisters to human skin upon contact. The chemical Urushiol can induce dermatitis due to an allergic reaction. Poison ivy is a woody shrub that can grow up to 4 feet or 1.2 meters.
The Effects of Poison Ivy Ingestion?
The plant’s chemical urushiol is an irritant that can cause dermatitis upon contact and extreme pain when ingested. If you try to burn and inhale the smoke from the burning plant, rashes can appear in your lungs. Such rashes can lead to fatal respiratory failure. If you eat it, your digestive system can be affected.
The Symptoms of Poison ivy contact includes:
- Blisters and bumps
- Difficulty breathing after inhaling smoke from burning poison ivy.
- Itching or tenderness that can your sleep
- No signs of improvement after a week
- Yellow scabs or pus on your rash
- Rashes that can cover your genital area, eyes, and mouth.
Who are at risk of getting poison ivy irritation?
Those that work in farming, forestry, gardening, landscaping, construction, camping, telephone installation, and firefighting.
How to prevent being affected by poison ivy?
- Wear gloves, boots, socks, and long sleeves when you go out in the woods
- Wash your skin after contact by using soap and water.
- Clean contaminated clothing and garden tools. This will prevent transferring the chemical urushiol.
How Is It Treated?
1. Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs or NSAIDs
These drugs can reduce inflammation and pain perception and reduce the severity of your reaction. NSAIDs constitute Aleve (Naproxen), Advil, Motrin (Ibuprofen), Paracetamol.
2. Home remedies
- Use wet and cool compress – This involves using a towel soaked in cold water and squeezing out the excess water and applying it to the affected skin for 15 to 30 minutes many times a day.
- Apply a moisturizer – Use a moisturizer such as a vaseline.
- Use baking soda baths and oatmeal – Grind the oats using a blender until they become a powder. Apply them to your skin or mix them in your bath.
Topical antihistamines and lotions
This drug can help you reduce inflammation and perception. It consists of Benadryl diphenhydramine. Another is the calamine lotion that contains ferric oxide and zinc oxide to soothe skin irritation.
Herbal and plants
Apply herbal remedies such as aloe vera and witch hazel extract.
Note: Before using NSAIDs make sure that you research or consult a health professional.
How to get rid of poison ivy from your yard?
You can get rid of poison ivy by yourself DIY or hire a professional. You can either use herbicide or uproot the plant to prevent its growth. One video on the internet claims that burning is effective in preventing the recurrence of weeds but this is not recommended because burning poison ivy can only scatter the urushiol oil that you can inhale. Here are ways to get rid of poison ivy.
Identify a poison ivy
Poison ivy constitutes three clusters of three leaves that are pointed and have ridges. The plant resembles raspberry leaves and poison oak and the Virginia creeper. Further, the leaves look wavy, jagged, and smooth-edged. It can also appear as dull, smooth, hairy, waxy, and shiny. The leaves measure 2-5 inches long. The center leaf has a longer stalk than both sides of leaves. During spring, the plant grows bright green leaves and small white flowers. During summer, the plant makes greenish berries. In the autumn, the leaves turn red, orange, or yellow. Poison ivy can intertwine or climb with other plants.
1. Use chemical poison
You can either use a weed killer chemical or a homemade weed killer. For homemade chemicals use the following:
- Acetic acid or vinegar – This is a desiccant that can draw moisture out of the plant’s leaves thus killing it.
- Salt – Provides weed-killing advantage over vinegar but use it with caution since it can impact the soil for a longer time and may affect the roots of other plants.
- Soap – Increases the efficacy of salt and vinegar as it can break down the waxy surfaces that can protect the leaves.
Here’s a recipe for homemade weed killer:
- 1-gallon vinegar
- 10 drops of liquid soap
- 1 cup of salt
Directions: Dissolve the salt by heating the mixture. Allow it to cool and pour them into a spray bottle.
2. Use boiling water
Boil the water up to the point that it produces steam and it’s very hot. Pour into the plant’s root to prevent the underground root from surviving after the dousing.
3. Manually remove
Use protective clothing such as shirt cuffs, long sleeves, pants, and heavy gloves to avoid exposure to poison ivy. Reach out for the roots and pull them to prevent recurring growth. Clean the protective clothing after use as the chemical urushiol that might have latched to them can still be active.
3. Dispose of the plant remains
To prevent further exposure, place the plant remains in the plastic bag and dispose of them in a trash can or community bin.
The Bottom Line
Poison ivy can pose risk as its chemical urushiol can latch in your skin and cause blisters and rashes. Use protective clothing if you suspect or have already identified the plant. Use medications with caution and make sure you have already understood their effects and usage. You can either manually remove or use home remedies and to remove the poisonous plant from your yard but avoid resorting to burning. Make sure to consult the photos or a professional gardener to correctly identify the plant.