Helping Seniors Live Healthier Lives

Helping Your Child Thwart An Attack By Poison Ivy When Camping

If your child previously had a bout with poison ivy, and they plan on going on a scouting or environmental camping trip in the near future, you will want to have them prepared for the event by taking action to keep them safe from a repeat occurrence. Teach your child to take the following steps in keeping themselves away from this annoying plant so they can enjoy their camping trip itch and inflammation free.

Carry An Identification Reminder

Print out a picture of poison ivy and laminate it so your child can put it in their pocket. When your child goes out into the wilderness with their group, have them look at this reminder often so they know which types of plants to stay away from. A poison ivy plant can be identified by its three-leaved structure. It is a good idea to give your child laminated pictures of poison sumac and poison oak as well since they are also conducive to similar symptoms. Have your child show their friends the pictures as well so the entire group will be on the lookout for any of these plants while hiking through the woods.

Wear Appropriate Clothing

Make sure your child knows to wear long pants when walking in wooded areas. Wearing knee-highs can also be helpful in covering the legs so exposure to poison ivy is limited. When they get back to their tent or cabin, have them put socks over their hands when removing their pants and socks and tell them to place them inside a plastic bag to be washed when they return home. This will help eliminate the transfer of any poison ivy oils from the material to the hands.

Use Tools To Move Brush Aside

Have your child hold onto a walking stick as they make their way through the woods. This will be useful in moving aside bushy brush clumps so your child will know if it is safe to step in the area. The stick will also become handy when there are rocky areas where they need extra stability to keep their footing. This can be beneficial in keeping your child on the path rather than falling into a tree or grassy area where poison ivy plants may be hidden from view.

Apply A Protectant to Avoid Trouble

There are over-the-counter products available that can stop poison ivy from starting if a plant is touched. Have your child slather this cream on their legs and arms before heading out to the trails. The protectant will create a barrier that may keep poison ivy oils from irritating the skin. When your child returns to camp, have them wash the cream off in its entirety with warm water and soap. Washing the skin immediately after poison ivy is touched can stop it from causing an allergic reaction.

For an allergy specialist, contact a doctor such as Diane L. Ozog, MD, SC