Monday, June 10, 2013

Peeing in Poison Ivy

As you might have read in my previous blog post, Barkin' Springs, my dog peed in poison ivy today while at a swimming hole that did not have ample space for the dogs to do their business. Apple got a bit frantic at the end of our swimming trip and started to run off in hopes of finding a place to pee, but didn't have much luck. After I wrangled him and put on my shoes, I walked him to a grassy spot that wasn't as grown up as other areas that had obvious poison ivy, and didn't notice the plant until he was already squatting.

Fortunately, I work for the City of Austin (I was a camp counselor last year and this year I'm a sub since I'm working some other theatre camps as well) and I just went through training on outdoor safety and poison ivy, so I know what it looks like and I know what to do if you come into contact with it. I read some interesting information about poison ivy and dogs, so I wanted to share that information as well.

This is exactly what the poison ivy I saw today looked like:
Leaves of Three, Let them Be

At my trainings I learned a cool way to identify it. They described the leaves as looking like two hands put together: a big point in the middle with two thumbs. Also, it grows with three leaves together, so that is important to look for as well.

How to identify poison ivy with your hands

I also learned that the best thing to do if you come into contact with poison ivy is to rinse the area very well with COLD water. The reaction is caused by an oil called Urushiol and it is important to get it off. Hot water opens your pores and allows the oil to sink into your skin. Soap can also help the oil spread. Urushiol can also get into fabrics and affect people who come into contact with them.

After I rinsed Apple in cold water, I did some research on dogs and poison ivy and actually found that it is unlikely for dogs to be affected by the oil because of their fur. However, the oil can stick to their fur and affect people who touch them. I read on a website that I should bathe Apple in dish soap because it breaks down oils, which is exactly how rescuers save animals after oil spills

I washed Apple in the soap, but unfortunately, I didn't have any rubber gloves, so I might break out with a reaction. It can take hours or even days for the rash to appear. My finger was burning earlier, but I think it is fine. I have a really itchy area on my chest, but I'm not sure if that is related to poison ivy or not. Let's hope it will be fine...and I hope to avoid further contact with this plant tomorrow, as I am planning to go back and swim at the exact same spot.

I also learned at the City trainings that I can call 311 to report poison ivy. Maybe I should do that...

I'll keep you posted if Apple or I have any adverse reactions to the poison ivy.

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