Have you or any of your children ever experienced poison ivy? Up until last week, we hadn't. We made it through the first 11 years of parenthood without encountering this plant even with our long walks (not necessarily hikes) down trails filled with brush and unknown vegetation.
How did we get so lucky to finally have it enter our home? Well, I can only shake my head as I share this tale. The girls and their friends were preparing for the warm weather in the south. They all know that poison ivy is a plant to watch out for while playing in the woods so they decided they would beat poison ivy before it got them. They went on an adventure searching for the plant. They all were somewhat knowledgeable and knew that they should look for leaves of three. They also assumed that poison ivy only came in the color green. This is where they were wrong although my youngest identified the plant as poison ivy she was told by the friend it wasn't. In this case, Ramya should have trusted her instinct because it was poison ivy.
The girls accomplished their goal. They went out to search for the plant. They found the plant, and one of them was blessed with the rash which has taken over a great portion of her body. The joys of childhood and motherhood.
- Look for leaves of three. This is an indicator, but remember the leaves can have different shapes and come in other colors outside of green. The plant she was exposed to was red.
- The rash appeared with three little bumps. I guess poison ivy loves the number 3. The bumps had some fluid in them.
- If exposed, clean the area with apple cider vinegar or soap and water. I had no idea the girls were exposed so this didn't happen. If you know you or child was possibly exposed, cleaning the oil from the plant of the skin in a hurry will lessen the chance of the rash spreading.
- If you aren't sure, a doctor's appointment is helpful with identifying the the type of rash on the skin. We went to the doctor because I had no idea what was wrong with her skin. The rash was appearing on random parts of her body. It started on her arm with three tiny bumps, and the next day it was on her forehead with a long trail of bumps. Although we waited for two hours because I did not schedule an appointment, I am glad we waited because poison ivy was not on my radar.
- Ask more questions. I often ask the girls who did they play with and what games did they play with their friends, but I didn't think to ask her if she was playing in the woods when the rash appeared. When the doctor identified the rash as poison ivy, they responded right away that they had been in the woods looking for it. Asking the right questions could have helped keep the rash from spreading all over.
Although poison ivy isn't fun to have, my girl has made the most of it. She has found humor in it, and has learned the big lesson of not going to search for something you really don't want to experience. They both are now better identifiers of the plant so hopefully they will be wise not expose themselves to it in the future.
Have you or your kiddos ever had the rash from poison ivy? What are some of your tips for staying clear of it?