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Poison ivy in Europe?

Old Jul 24th, 2005, 04:30 PM
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cmt
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Poison ivy in Europe?

Is there poison ivy (Rhus radicans L) anywhere in Europe? I've never noticed it in Italy. I actually made a point of looking for it when I was on walking tours in temperate areas of Italy and France, but never noticed any. I thought maybe it might exist in the UK, and wondered whether it was brought to North America from the UK, or whether the colonists may have brought it back there from America, either accidentally, e.g., on their shoes, or deliberately, as a fairly attractive vine that doesn't cause an allergic reaction in everyone. There's loads of healthy poison ivy in all sizes and degrees of maturity in NJ and eastern PA, the areas of the US that I know best.

If there is poison ivy in Europe, what are some home remedies?
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Old Jul 24th, 2005, 04:35 PM
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There is none, but lots of nettles.
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Old Jul 24th, 2005, 04:46 PM
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Hi cmt,

Poison Ivy was brought to Europe in the 1600's as both an ornamental (beautiful red leaves in the Fall) and a medicinal plant, but I think it has been eradicated.

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Old Jul 24th, 2005, 05:39 PM
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Brought there from North America? Was it brought to continental Europe or just to the UK?

Medicianl? That's interesting. Do you know what its medicinal use was?

HOW WAS IT ERADICATED? I wonder how people managed to destroy it faster than birds could "plant" it.
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Old Jul 24th, 2005, 05:59 PM
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Funny you should bring up the subject of poison ivy. I am suffering from an unexpected reaction to poison ivy right now.

I usually am extremely aware of its presence in my surroundings but either the blackberries I picked or my friends dog I am sitting got me up close and personal with the nasty plant. I've broken out in small clusters on both legs, both arms and my face.

Hanging around on Fodors is the only thing I can do to keep myself distracted from the itching

Deborah
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Old Jul 24th, 2005, 06:17 PM
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Me, too, Deborah. I'd only gotten poison ivy once before, when a dead leaf got stuck inside my bathing suit. It was a very mild case.

This time it's really maddening, and I've scratched myself raw. Since I've never been sensitive to it, I was a little reckless, and last weekend cut and pulled a huge vine, wearing short sleeves. I think because I broke it, the oil must have sprayed all over my arms and neck. I scrubbed Tecnu on it as soon as I went back inside and washed up thoroughly, but I guess it was too late. In past years I've pulled out little p.i. seedlings with just a plastic bag over my hand, but this one was a toughie.

I just came back from CVS where I bought hydrocortisone cream and neosporin cream (because the sores on my rms are slightly infected) and generic benadryl capsules.
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Old Jul 24th, 2005, 06:33 PM
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cmt,Wow, can I identify with you. I asked my husband to skip the generic stuff this time I wanted real Benadryl, he couldn't find liquid so I am popping pills to the max. I am using Benadryl cream, clear anti-itch lotion, plus swabbing my wounds with Domeboro which my doctor prescribed the last time I had it. I am really feeling sorry for myself. The only good thing is that I only have a few spots on my face. I would love to live somewhere without poison ivy, it takes all the fun out of walking through the woods. I hope yours clears up soon. Deborah
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Old Jul 24th, 2005, 06:42 PM
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I feel so silly, because I KNOW p.i. when I see it, and have known it since I was 4 or 5, but just never got it before (except for that one incident when it was stuck in my bathing suit). I guess it would've been worth spending five minutes to put on a long-sleeved top before attacking that monster vine.

I ran into a neighbor at CVS who was buying all the same stuff. She was much worse off than I am. One entire arm was solidly red and swollen with poison ivy. I'd really like to know about its medicinal use. It's a shame for all this good stuff to go to waste. Maybe someone would pay us for the privilege of harvesting it.

I guess we'll live. Good luck with it. DON'T SCRATCH! Do as I say, not as I do
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Old Jul 24th, 2005, 07:02 PM
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cmt, I wish I had enough will power not to scratch but alas I am weak and its hold on me is strong!! When I was younger it never bothered me but as an adult I have developed a strong allergic reaction to the weed. I stay away from all three-leaved vegetation but this bout caught me when I wasn't lookin' Hope you are much better tomorrow, Deborah
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Old Jul 25th, 2005, 03:22 AM
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I've never heard of it in the UK, but you certainly have to watch for nettles.
The classic cure for the pain is to rub the sting with a dock leaf. Oddly enough, dock leaves seem to grow in the same places as nettles.
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Old Jul 25th, 2005, 03:31 AM
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Sooo, does anyone know how to safely get rid of this stuff?? I've sprayed brush killer several times on the poison ivy in our yard (we have loads!) and am afraid to touch it b/c my brother is *severely* allergic and I don't want to find out whether I am too. BTW, that stuff must be pesticide resistant b/c some of it still looks green and I assume is alive!
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Old Jul 25th, 2005, 03:40 AM
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There may not be poison ivy, but when I was in Rome (this was back in 1998)Tony and I stopped at a park to rest in the shade on the grass. I leaned back and onto my arms/elbow. Well, I broke out with the same bumps as poison ivy! It was horrible. We went to a pharmacist and after playing charades, I was given an ointment for my rash. It helped only a little. The first time I ever broke out with poison ivy was at home and it spread throughout my body up to my neck! It may not have been poison ivy in Rome, but I got the same reaction! Now I don't even sit on the grass at a park anymore. Not taking any chances!

Monica
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Old Jul 25th, 2005, 04:21 AM
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OneWandering--poison ivy is very tough stuff. Be sure to get a strong weed killer that lists poison ivy (Round-Up, Kleen-up) or is specifically made for poison ivy.

Also, when you do manage to kill the plant, it will still cause allergic reactions as the active agent is in the resinous oils throughout the plant. Those resins remain active even if the plant dies--they can remain active for a few years.

When we built our new house a few years ago, there was a wooded area in the back that had not been touched for a century or more. Poison ivy vines were everywhere--some 6-8 inches in diameter. Ended up digging most of them out--I wore long pants, long sleeve shirts, had plastic bags taped around my legs, arms, torso.

I still ended up with a horrible case of poison ivy twice. After the second one, we hired some professionals to finish the job.

Every two weeks I roam those woods with my sprayer looking for little plants that the birds have so kindly made possible.

Don't burn the plant--the oils can get into your respiratory system.

Dig and spray. Dig and spray.
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Old Jul 25th, 2005, 04:21 AM
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Hi guys,

For those with poison ivy: I empathize. I'm very sensitive to it.

As soon as I feel an itch, I apply "Caladryl Clear" and keep applying it, sometimes for a week or more.

I take Chlor Trimaton for the itching.

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Old Jul 25th, 2005, 04:23 AM
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Hi cmt,

Can't answer your questions. All I know about it is what I read on the internet.

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Old Jul 25th, 2005, 04:32 AM
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ira: where was it brought to Europe from - the US ? I've never heard of it anywhere other than the US.
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Old Jul 25th, 2005, 05:08 AM
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Rufus--
Sorry to hear you got PI 2x...I think a landscaper may be the way to go for us too although I was hoping we could get rid of everything ourselves--I have been buying the heavy duty Round Up for Poison Ivy BTW. We just bought a house that was vacant for awhile so we're in the same position you were...

I'm glad you mentioned that even a dead PI plant is poisonous. I had no idea!!

Thanks for posting. I'd hate to go on my next vacation looking like Ms. Poison Ivy 2005

OWJ
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Old Jul 25th, 2005, 07:51 AM
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cmt - we went to Italy in May for a week. The weekend before departure, I worked in the yard. Midweek I broke out with an horrendous case of poisen ivy. One of my best friends, fortunately, is a dermotologist. She prescribed a round of cortisone tablets and prescription cream. To answer your question, she highly recommended an over the counter preventative called Ivy Guard. While in Italy, the reaction spread and spread. I looked horrible, scratching and itching my way through Italy. The day I returned, I went from the airport to see her. She gave me a injection of cortisone and upped the dose.
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Old Jul 25th, 2005, 08:13 AM
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>I'm glad you mentioned that even a dead PI plant is poisonous. I had no idea!!<

NEVER, NEVER, NEVER dispose of poison ivy by burning it.

The smoke carries the poisonous oils all over the neighborhood.

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Old Jul 25th, 2005, 09:01 AM
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cmt / Deborah Ann

My sympathies to you both. In my case my sister inadvertently gave it to me when she borrowed my towel at the beach, but unknowingly let the towel brush against some of this horrible plant before returning the towel to me. The only thing that stopped the itching was an ORAL corticosteroid prescription, so you might want to ask your respective doctors if this is a possibility. It's possible that if you took an antihistamine such as Benadryl or applied corticosteroid cream soon enough after contact, you might stop the reaction without an oral steroid prescription. However, in my case, I was too slow to recognize what had happened, and wound up being deprived of sleep for several nights until I finally cried, "Uncle"! (or should that be "STEROIDS"! )

If I were to run into anything that caused a skin rash while in Europe, I'd skip the home remedies and head for a chemist shop. Chemists (pharmacists) seem to have a lot more latitude in Europe when it comes to things like diagnosing ailments. They'd also likely be up on just exactly what plant or substance would cause the rash - if indeed the rash was due to plant allergy and not to something else.
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