Bigger, Badder Poison Ivy

by Dave

Poison ivy has forever been a nuisance for 80% of the population and will continue to be with increased levels of CO2. Recent studies done by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) at Duke University have found out that the irritating vine will become bigger and more potent with the inevitable climate change. Anyone who suffers from this vile weed understands how incredibly annoying and painful the rash can be. It not only itches and stings perpetually but it will spread like wildfire if one cannot exhibit self-control. Most people who contract the rash do not initially realize it at the time and because of this, individuals usually scratch incessantly. When the rash is scratched and the oil is exposed, the individual is susceptible to an outbreak of the itchy toxin known as urushiol. Once the urushiol is on the individuals hands spreading the rash is as easy as brushing ones hair off their face.

The study was conducted in an enclosed terrarium, with CO2 levels that correspond to the predicted amount for 2050. Results from the study showed a 150% increase in growth and oil potency. The extra carbon dioxide within the enclosed ecosystem intensified photosynthesis, water efficiency, growth and population biomass of woody vines. This is both eye opening and terrifying because anyone who severely suffers from this aliment knows how devastating urushiol can be to the skin. Increased levels of potency will not only exacerbate the irritation and risk of spreading but it can pose dangers to one’s health if ingested. The biggest threat poison ivy can pose within someone’s mouth is the potential to spread to one’s throat.  If the urushiol reaches the throat swelling can occur, potentially closing up one’s throat.  This is also true if someone was to inhale smoke of the burning plant. Medical attention should be sought out immediately after ingesting poison ivy.

I personally can relate to this topic because on more than one occasion has poison ivy ravaged my skin.  I will never forget the look upon my friends face one morning after a particularly awful outbreak.  As I lifted my head off the pillow I could see his excitement turn into sheer disgust in a split second.  During the night I had transferred the urushiol oils onto my pillow and spread them across my entire face.  Luckily this happened at the Jersey shore and I was able to dry out my face with salt water.  The only remedy I can personally recommend for ridding yourself of poison ivy is the facial scrub Zanfel, other over-the-counter remedies include Cortaid poison ivy treatment kit, extra strength Benadryl and Aveeno skin relief bath treatment with calamine lotion–although none of them are particularly eco-friendly; although we’d love for you to sound off with home remedies below!

Related Posts