Know the Outdoors

MIBowhunter

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Know the outdoors

July 29, 2004

BY TIM MARCINKOSKI

Forget mosquitoes, black flies and party-altering ants, poison ivy can be the biggest and longest-lasting nuisance to berry-pickers, hikers, campers, fishermen and other warm-weather outdoors enthusiasts. If you spend any time in Michigan's great outdoors, it's wise to heed the old saying: "Leaflets of three, let them be."

Poison ivy normally has three-part, long-stalked leaves that are green in spring and summer, red in fall. The plants, which prefer growing around lakes and streams, can be a vine (resembling a fuzzy rope), a trailing shrub that grows along the ground or a freestanding shrub. Most often, poison ivy snakes its way up, down and around tree trunks.

The American Academy of Dermatology estimates that up to 50 million Americans each year develop an allergic rash -- called dermatitis -- after making skin contact with poison ivy, poison oak or poison sumac. The poison ivy's dermatitis is caused by the skin's contact with the ivy's oil -- called urushiol -- found in all parts of the plant.

Leaves and stems are easily crushed or cracked when stepped on, brushed against or manipulated by rain or wind, allowing urushiol to seep. After the sap is exposed to air, it turns black on the plant -- another warning to stay away. Home owners who try to destroy the plants should not burn them. Urushiol can be released in smoke, which can be more damaging than skin contact when inhaled.

The effects of exposure to poison ivy -- itchiness, inflammation, swelling and blisters -- vary by each person's sensitivity and the amount of contact. Symptoms can begin to appear as soon as a few hours after contact to as long as two days later. Washing the infected area intensely with soap and water immediately after contact can lessen and sometimes eliminate penetration into the pores. Once a rash or blisters appear, the best bets are calamine lotion, cool showers, or baking-soda or oatmeal baths.

Despite poison ivy's detrimental effects on humans, birds and mammals find the berries and leaves delectable and harmless. Many songbirds eat the berries during fall migration when other food sources have vanished; year-round resident game birds like the ruffed grouse also eat the berries. Deer browse the berries and leaves.

No people had more contact with poison ivy in Michigan than the Indians. The Hurons, Chippewas and Iroquois made drinks from crushed poison ivy stems and chewed the plants' leaves, believing it built immunity. Some western tribes believed that giving infants parts of the plant in food desensitized them to the ivy's effects as adults. Some tribes used the oil in making poison-tipped arrows
 

MIBowhunter

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My last run in with Poison Ivy landed me in Hospital for 4 days on IV's every 4 hours.

MIB
 

upperEA

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Ok I'm a humble guy so I'm going to tell this story. I went Jet sking at a small lake by my house well when I was done I was loading my Jet ski on the trailer and all of a sudden the ? or so beers and brats were working so I look around and no one, so I run up into the bushes a little ways and do my buisness (you probley already know the out come) Well the next day I'm in my prison van and by butt starts to itch nothing out of the ordinary after a few hours on vinal seats. Then it gets worse as the day goes on. Yep I took a crap right in the middle of poison ivy. About two days of oatmeal bathes and some rather compromising positions putting calamine lotion on I learned my lesson look before you poop
 

MIBowhunter

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Upper,

That would have sucked. IT seems for me that every time I get it now it's worse. This time I got it on the back of my legs behind the knee. Well let me tell you in SC in August that is the worse spot. It would not dry out just kept breaking open and getting worse. I got all kinds of shot's that didn't phase it, so they finally put me in and gave me IV's. Still took 2+ days to see a change. Ireally do not want to go through that again. I saw on a web site a real good medicine.

www.zanfel.com/

The testomonies are incredable, also this web site has some good info to. poisonivy.aesir.com/

I wasn't to knowledgable about what it looked like exactly but they have a ton of photos and good info.

MIB
 

bigdaddyk

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Upper, MIB, I have to say that after looking back on all of the hunting that I have done, I have yet to get any Poison ivy or sumac. I have even walked thru it many times. I knoqw many people who have had brush-ins with it, but for some reason I can't even pick it up and catch it. What seems to be my problem? By the way we just got back from our pig hunting trip. I saw that BIG boar again. He was about 350 yards out. I put a stalk on him, but by the time I got to were he was in the brush, I could not find him. We saw at least 15 pigs in the two days we were up there. Had a few shots at small ones. I have enough pig in my freezer for now so I let them pass. Sorry but no picks from this hunt.

 

MIBowhunter

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Bigdaddy,

That boar will be waiting for you next time. If it was easy it wouldn't be hunting.

MIB
 

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