If you’re itching for a summer adventure, a trip to the beach or a hike in the park might be just what you need, but watch where you step—poison ivy could be near. We typically think of this plant as lying deep in the woods, but in fact it’s most commonly found in less remote areas: the edges of your backyard, the shoulder of a highway, even a sand dune on a beach.
And as with other poisonous plants, such as poison oak and poison sumac, even just a slight brush against the poison ivy plant can deposit its oily coating—called urushiol, this is the substance that makes poison ivy “poisonous”—onto your skin. Within four hours and up to four days after exposure, you might experience redness, swelling, and severe itching. Eventually a rash often accompanied by fluid-filled blisters emerges in a line or a streaklike pattern.
Click here to learn what to look for and how to treat it.