Poison Ivy

So, if you are allergic to poison ivy you avoid it. The reason you avoid it is because you’ll end up with an itchy, painful blistering rash that will torment you for weeks. It’s not the poison ivy’s fault. It’s just a plant. The problem is your REACTION to the urushinol, the oil in the plant. The plant is just being a plant. Not everyone is allergic to poison ivy. Most of us aren’t allergic the first time we’re exposed. It requires repeated exposure but eventually, if we develop a reaction, it can be violent and swift and beyond our cognitive and voluntary control. The reaction is hard wired and programmed into our cell-mediated responses. Our choice is to wear Ivy Block, a type of skin protectant if we simply cannot avoid the potential exposure by living a life indoors. We can spray our lawns with defoliants, but this can kill other plants and even insects. It can disrupt the ecosystem. Or, we just avoid the plant at all costs. I personally don’t want to break out in an angry, painful, weeping rash. I am not going to castigate myself for being allergic to poison ivy; its not a reaction I can control. It’s also not a reason to despise poison ivy. The best thing is to simply avoid contact as much as possible and if you think you’ve been exposed, to intervene early.

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