Nature can be a beautiful place to unwind and relax, whether hiking through your favorite trail, tending to your garden, or having a picnic in the park. However, there are dangers lurking in the majesty of nature. Poison ivy plants can cause painful rashes resulting in irritated skin, red bumps, itchiness, and blisters. While many people think they know enough about poison ivy plants to keep themselves safe, there are a few questions most do not think to ask. Can poison ivy be spread from person to person? If it is contagious, how do I prevent it? Is it true the oils are the most dangerous part? How long does the oil from poison ivy last?
When it comes to poison ivy, many people underestimate the effect of the oils emitted from these plants. While most people falsely believe the only way to catch the rash caused by poison ivy is to come into direct contact with the plant, the truth is actually much scarier. You do not need to come in contact directly with the plant to develop the painful effects. In some ways, the oils are seen as worse than the plant that produces them.
The reason the oils of poison ivy are seen as the worst part is that they allow for people to become inflicted by the plant without direct contact. These oils are clear and mostly odorless so they can go undetected. Whether on a person’s clothes or in the fur of a pet, these oils can cause the rash to affect people with no contact with the plant itself. Even worse, poison ivy oil is the strongest part of the plant in terms of potency. Oils from poisonous plants can live for years on certain surfaces! For example, if you touch a tent that came in contact with poison ivy oils years before, you may develop the rash without ever being anywhere near the plant.
The way in which people who have no contact with the plant can develop the rash has led to people erroneously thinking that poison ivy rashes are contagious. The good news is these rashes are not spreadable. However, if the person with the rash still has oils on their skin, it is possible to develop the rash yourself from touching these oils.