Look out for Poison Ivy!

Subscribe to A Day In The SmokiesSomeone said to me the other day “I really feel bad for people that come here and don’t know what poison ivy looks like!”  It is all over the Smokies so know what it looks like and stay out of it! 

What does it look like?

Poison ivy is a plant that grows as a vine or a shrub and is found throughout eastern North America.  It is recognized by its three leaves that are sometimes lobed and shiny.  The leaves are often (but not always) red, especially in the fall.  The vines are hairy and often grow up tree trunks.

Poison Ivy in Summer

How do you get it?

When skin comes in contact with the urushiol oil in the plant (leaves and stems) most people have an allergic reaction, usually in the form of a skin rash.  If the urushiol oil gets inside your body (inhaled, ingested, or through a cut) the reaction can be much more dangerous, requiring medical attention.

After exposure, it usually takes a day or two for the rash to appear, but cam ;ast up to eight weeks!

How do I know if i have poison ivy?

You probably have poison ivy if you have red, itchy, bubbly blisters.  The rash often looks like a straight line because of the way the plant brushes up against the skin.

How do I treat it?

Unfortunately once you have it, you can’t really do anything but wait.  There are several products that will help with the itching, but nothing will get rid of it except for time. 

Calamine lotion has long been used on poison ivy rashes.  This pink milky liquid dries out the blisters and relieves itching.Tecnu is a product that removes urushiol oils from the skin if used quickly enough after contact.  If you find that you are especially sensitive to poison ivy, it may be a good idea to carry this product with you. 

How do I avoid Poison Ivy?

The best way to avoid getting poison ivy is know what it looks like and stay away!  A good rule of thumb is “Leaves of three, let it  be!”  There are lots ofother plants that come in leaves of three too, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to not touch those either!Poison Ivy in Fall

If staying out of the poison ivy is not an option, cover up!  Wear pants, long sleeves, closed shoes, and gloves if necessary.  Wash your clothes after contact.

If skin is exposed, wash immediately with soap or tecnu.

Unexpected ways to get Poison Ivy:

In winter – You can still get poion ivy in the winter when there are no leaves, so stay away from those hairy vines! 

From dogs – dogs are not allergic to poison ivy, so they certainly don’t think twice about running through it and rubbing against your legs!

Learn More:

Here are some good resources to learn more about Poison Ivy and how to avoid it!



ERA In The Smokies Realty and RentalsThis blog is sponsored in part by ERA In The Smokies Realty and Rentals located at 207 Parkway in Gatlinburg, TN. For more information on a Gatlinburg Cabin for your Smoky Mountain Vacation or all the reasons to move to the Smokies, call 1-800-309-0277. ERA In The Smokies is a leader in chalet and Log Cabin Rentals and Real Estate Sales in the Gatlinburg area.


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