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Poison Ivy on the Rise

Studies show the affects of climate change are aiding the spread of Poison Ivy. This according to Connecticut University Officials. Professors and Doctors in our area are sharing their expertise on the issue with us.

It is a common plant in our area, but what’s not normal is the increase in Poison Ivy. Experts are saying that the increase in average temperatures is the cause. Connecticut University Officials saying these affects of climate change are giving Poison Ivy more opportunity to grow, such as the loss of forest canopies due to wild fires and increases in carbon dioxide. Research shows higher levels of carbon dioxide are shown to increase the size and irritant output of the plant.

Doctor Alex Pozun of Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center says the plant is common enough, and you may not know if you have touched it, being the main reason for irritation of the skin. Dr. Pozun saying: “It’s usually a red rash that is very itchy. Usually, you get blisters in the area that came in contact with the plant.” Doctor Pozun says an area’s change in climate can change how much its presence affects you. This likely being if the plant is damaged or broken. Dr. Pozun adding: “What our body actually reacts to is the resin or the oil that comes from the plant.” These oils can also come indirectly from the plant, such as on a pets, tools, clothing, or inhaling from the burning of plants.

For treatment, Pozun says to immediately wash the affected areas with soap and water, to get the oils off your skin. He says the symptoms can last for a few weeks. Doctors also say that if the affected area turns yellow and or crusty, it could be a sign of infection, and to get it treated when possible. Pozun says if the symptoms persist, check with your care provider for further guidance.

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