Weekly Puzzler Answer #93

sycamore -4047Have you ever had the misfortune of touching a vine in the woods that looked like this and then later, getting an itchy rash? That’s because this vine is POISON IVY! So even in the winter when the plant doesn’t even have leaves, you can still get poison ivy–an itchy rash caused by an oil in the plant called Urushiol. These hairy vines can be 6 inches thick and grow up a tree taller than 100 feet!

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Two poison ivy vines growing up a tree

Did you know 15% of people are immune to the rash caused by poison ivy? But interestingly, this immunity may not last throughout your life–one day you can be immune, then next you could develop a rash. Also, after touching the plant or vine, it takes 8-24 hours before you develop a rash if you are allergic. The reason for this wide span is because there are a lot of factors that come into play, including how sensitive you are to it, how thick the skin was where you got the oil on you, the amount of oil, etc.

When I was a kid my brothers and I got poison ivy often! Because we spent A LOT of time in the woods and poison ivy was very common. Interestingly, my MOM got poison ivy a lot too (Much to her extreme dismay!)–though she often hadn’t spent any time in the woods! She got it because she did our laundry, touching our clothes that had the oil on them and in doing so, transferring it to her own skin.

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Poison ivy growing up a tree

So what do you know about poison ivy? Can you spread the itchy rash from one part of your body to anther or even to another person? If I have poison ivy and I touch your arm, can I pass it on to you? Does touching the liquid oozing from the rash cause the rash to spread? To learn the answers to these and other questions and to see more pictures of Poison Ivy, CLICK HERE to read a post I wrote some years ago.

Here is the next puzzler! Have a fabulous weekend!

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