Do you plan on going on a hiking adventure this weekend? Be sure to be watchful of the plants you pass along your way. Poison Oak is a plant that is part of the Sumac family; a family that produces the skin-irritating oil Urushiol. Urushiol causes an allergic reaction and can cause the skin to develop severe irritation, deep red coloring, and even blisters or hives. Poison Oak is a widespread deciduous shrub that can be found throughout the mountains and valleys of California. It tends to live in shady canyons and areas by rivers, brooks, or creeks. Poison Oak grows vine-like and at times will tangle itself around the base of trees such as Oaks and Sycamores.
Once you have come in contact with Poison Oak it can take anywhere from 8 hours to 2 days for a reaction to occur. There have even been some cases of reaction symptoms showing up 4 days post contact with Poison Oak. If you ever come in contact with Poison Oak and begin to show signs of an irritation, do not fret because there are ways to treat it. It is recommended to visit your doctor, whom can prescribe you with lotions or creams to treat the Poison Oak and relieve symptoms such as itching.
So the next time you choose to be spontaneous and go on that hike you’ve been thinking about, remember to pay attention to what plants you are walking through.
“Leaves of three, let them be!”