How to Identify and Avoid Poison Ivy

Beware of Poison Ivy, Dead or Alive

It is important to be able to identify poison ivy so that you can avoid it, if possible. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to avoid coming in contact with poison ivy, which is why I always seem to get a case of it every summer.

Poison ivy has three pointy and shiny leaves. In the spring the leaves have a reddish tint, while in the summer they are green. In the fall, the leaves turn orange, bronze or red.
Though fairly easy to identify, it is notable that poison ivy can be a plant, shrub or vine.

General Recommendations:
Don't touch poison ivy! Even more important don't eat it.
On the internet there are reports of people trying to become resistant to the effects of urushiol, the oily resin that is responsible for the rash, by eating small leaves of poison ivy from the plants in early spring.

There are also reports of contact rashes going in and coming out because of these attempts.
Listen, most people are sensitive to poison ivy-eating it is dangerous. Especially, if you discover that you are highly sensitive to it -then not only is it dangerous but it could be fatal.

Also, urushiol is on all parts of the plant. This means the leaves, roots, stems, flowers, berries and leaves all have urushiol. Avoid all parts of the plant-even if the plant appears dormant or dead.
Do not burn poison ivy. Urushiol can be inhaled. The smoke from burning poison ivy can irritate not only your skin, but your eyes, nose and throat. Then it is possible that breathing will become difficult. Since breathing is important-this should be taken seriously.

If you own pets that roam outside be aware that you can get poison ivy by petting your animals if they have been in contact with poison ivy. This, I believe, is how I continue to get small outbreaks.

Good Points-really!
I had to search for quite some time to find something good to say about poison ivy but I did find some redeeming qualities.

Song birds eat the berries in the winter. Downy woodpeckers eat the berries and deer will eat the poison ivy plants. Since I like listening to the song birds, enjoy watching woodpeckers and deer and like venison, I guess the fact that these animals may find poison ivy enjoyable to eat gives poison ivy some redemption-but not much.

As a side note to animals that will eat poison ivy-when we owned a goat, my biggest hope was that the goat would eat the poison ivy as if it was a delicacy. He didn't eat it-perhaps because he had so many other choices. Nevertheless, he didn't eat it.
Helpful Sayings:
Leaves of three, let it be
Berries white, take flight