Nothing will ruin a camping trip like poison ivy. Even if you camp in style with a motorhome, you still need to watch for and avoid poison ivy. If you still come in contact with the leaves and oils of this plant, the good news is that you can treat the rash and find relief. Before you pull into the next campground, here is what you should know about poison ivy.
“Leaves of three, let it be.” “If it’s hairy, it’s scary.” These sayings are how young kids learn to recognize poisonous vines. Remember that poison ivy is a woody vine. Growing independently or climbing along other objects like trees and fences, it has thin, shiny leaves. Learn how to recognize it, and teach your family members to recognize it on sight so you can all avoid it.
Take Protective Measures
If you go out hiking, stay on marked trails. This is consistent with Leave No Trace principles. It’s safer, and it will help you avoid the danger of poison ivy. Be wary of any vine climbing up trees. Protect yourself by wearing long pants and sleeves when you head out for a walk. If you are concerned about poison ivy exposure, wear a barrier cream to keep the oil away from your skin.
Fast Action to Stop the Spread
Despite your best efforts, accidents can still happen. If someone in the family came in contact with poison ivy, start by taking steps to stop the spread. The oil can transfer from clothing to your camper upholstery and then to other people in the family. Put clothing in a plastic bag and seal it. The affected person should immediately get in a cool shower and wash with an oil-free soap. Removing the resins from the skin promptly can help prevent the most severe reactions. After the shower, use rubbing alcohol to dissolve any residual resins.
It’s natural to touch an infected area after coming in contact with poison ivy. Unfortunately, the oil an get under your skin and spread from there. Scrub under your nails with a toothbrush soaked in rubbing alcohol. Dispose of the toothbrush afterwards. If the rash still appears, it can be treated with topical creams, cool compresses and oatmeal baths. Antihistamines can also be used to ease the pain and take away some of the misery from poison ivy.
When you are packing for a trip in the RV, be sure to prepare your family by teaching them about poison ivy. Prevention is truly better than any cure, but these treatments are effective at alleviating the pain of poison ivy and preventing it from spreading.