If you’re planning a hike, some basic protections can go a long way toward reducing exposure to all of these poisonous plants. First, stay on marked paths, which also helps with forest conservation. Long sleeves, pants, washable leg gaiters, and boots can protect against the sap and oils coming into contact with your skin. Upon returning home, you should wash yourself, your clothing, and any pets with soap and water. Oils can stay on clothing or pet hair and cause a reaction. Cleaning can remove plant oil before it causes a bad reaction or rash.
Most people don’t realize they have been exposed to a poisonous plant until a red rash appears on the impacted area a few days after a hike. At that point, antihistamines, lotions, or creams to relieve symptoms are the best course of treatment. Seek medical attention if symptoms become severe or long-lasting (high temperature, difficulty breathing, skin blisters or rashes that don’t heal).
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