Q:

Does poison ivy have thorns?

A:

Toxicodendron radicans, more commonly known as poison ivy, does not have thorns. The most obvious physical characteristic of poison ivy, to help in detection and avoidance, is that the leaves grow in clusters of three.

The compound that causes irritation from poison ivy is contained in every part of the plant and is called urushoil. This long-lasting compound is stable enough to remain intact long after the plant has died. Urushoil is present in poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac plants; to avoid the rashes associated with this compound, individuals should wash affected areas immediately after contact with the plant.


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  • Q:

    Is poison ivy contagious?

    A:

    According to Everyday Health, the rash from poison ivy and the fluid in the blisters is not contagious. The oils from the plant can spread onto clothing, shoes or any item that was touched by the oils.

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  • Q:

    How do you get rid of poison ivy?

    A:

    Once absorbed by the skin, poison ivy must run its course; however, it can be prevented and safely treated at home. To prevent poison ivy, immediately rinse with cool or lukewarm water after exposure. To treat it, avoid scratching, and apply calamine lotion or hydrocortisone to the skin. Cool compresses and antihistamine medications can help relieve uncomfortable symptoms.

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  • Q:

    How does poison ivy spread?

    A:

    According to WebMD, a rash from poison ivy can only be spread through the oil of the plant. Contact with any part of the plant, such as the leaves, stems and roots, or touching any item such as clothing or pet fur that comes into contact with poison ivy also causes the rash. The blister fluid does not spread the rash.

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  • Q:

    Can dogs get poison ivy?

    A:

    Dogs do not have a reaction to poison ivy or similar plants such as poison oak and poison sumac. However, they can spread poison ivy to any humans who handle them, so they should be washed after exposure.

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