“Shiny leaves of three, let them be.” Remember that? It's a helpful rhyme to recall when hiking to avoid brushing up against poison ivy. Don't heed this warning, you just may break out in an itchy rash the next day.
Many are aware of the uncomfortable result of tangling with poison oak,
Indeed, if you are highly allergic to poison oak, ivy and sumac, you should avoid these three things, as well.
What Is It About Those Plants?
Poison ivy and its
Urushiol is the culprit behind those wicked rashes that ravage allergic individuals. The oil can be found year-round in all parts of the plant, including the roots, stems,
Poison oak can grow as a dense shrub in sunlight or a
Poison sumac has compound leaves with seven to 13 leaflets, and the veins from which the leaflets grow are always red. The plant grows as a shrub and produces fruit that is a small white or gray berry.
Read more: 6 Natural Remedies for Springtime Allergies
What's Going to Happen to Me?
In those who are allergic to urushiol, contact with the resin causes an itchy rash, often configured in lines or streaks. Other features include blistering and swelling: It is not uncommon to see eyelids swollen shut. The eruption starts 12 to 72 hours after the first touch, and it may not come out all at one time, meaning new patches develop each day.
The rash itself is not contagious to others, and animals cannot get the rash, but they frequently transmit the oil to their owners. Garden tools, athletic equipment, balls retrieved from a neighbor’s yard, etc., can also be stealth sources of exposure. Lastly, don’t think that clothing is always an effective barrier; the resilient resin can leach right through.
How to Treat the Rash
If you think you have been exposed, wash off the oil immediately. When the rash is in full swing apply cool compresses or take colloidal oatmeal baths or prescribed topical or oral steroids from a health care provider for relief.
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The Connection Between Urushiol and Food
It turns out that the mango tree and cashew nut tree are also members of the Anacardiaceae family. Urushiol is found in mango peels in small amounts. Once you’ve had a bad case of poison oak or ivy, however, your immune system becomes sensitized.
The more poison oak or ivy reactions you have, the more sensitized your immune system becomes, so your reactions actually get worse each time your infected. Some immune systems become so sensitive from multiple poison oak or ivy exposures that they become susceptible to getting a rash from mango peels or cashew shells.
The rash from mango peels is similar to poison oak in that it is itchy and blistery. It can be localized, such as around the mouth if eating the fruit off the peel, or systematized, meaning all over the skin. Generally, if the peel is off, chances of a problem are slim to none because the pulp does not contain urushiol.
In cashew shells, the rash-inducing oils have usually been removed from store-bought unsalted, salted, roasted or raw cashews. But there are certainly reported cases of unintentional contamination that have resulted in systemic, all-over reactions as described above with mangoes.
If you are highly allergic to poison oak or ivy, it is best to avoid cashews unless you are absolutely certain that the shell oil has been fully extracted.
The Cross Reactors
If your immune system is sensitized by repeated poison oak or poison ivy reactions, you may be more susceptible to an allergic reaction to ginkgo
Read more: Allergic Reactions to Ginkgo Biloba
What Do YOU Think?
Are you severely allergic to poison oak, ivy or sumac? If so, have you also had bad reactions with mangoes, cashews or ginkgo