The summer itch: poison ivy tips


FAYETTEVILLE, WV (WVNS) — With the summer months in full swing, many people are enjoying the outdoors, which means more chances to encounter poison ivy.

Poison ivy is an annual problem for people who enjoy getting out into the woods or even working on their own gardens and yards. The plant causes itchy blisters which can drive even calmest person up a tree.

“My experience was just coming upon it and accidentally touching it or touching maybe an animal that has gotten into it and then maybe getting it that way too,” said Mary Wilson, who is traveling from Ohio.

The three leafed vine can be found along the ground and climbing up trees, popping up in yards, and creeping its way along hiking trails all across West Virginia. Supervisor Ranger Dave Bieri at the New River Gorge National Park and Reserve has tips for all of us to avoid the summer ivy itch:

“It’s a 3 leaf plant, if you don’t really know what it looks like it could be safe to avoid any three leaf plant.
But poison ivy is kind of distinctive it sometimes got a glossy green color to it, sometimes it could be a little reddish tint this time of the year if you look at it, its got the little berries on it,” said Dave Bieri, Supervisor Ranger New River Gorge National Park and Reserve.

The best way to avoid poison ivy is to stay on marked trails when possible and watch your surroundings, both above and below, while walking in the words or working out in the yard. However, if you do come in contact with the unpleasant plant, there is another plant worth looking for to help relieve the itch.

“There is a plant out here called jewel weed which actually has a sap in it that a lot of the old people here might tell you that is kind of a local remedy for poison ivy. Its got like a milky liquid in the jewel weed that you can apply to poison ivy to stop the itch,” said Bieri.

While poison ivy can be an itchy annoyance for most, professional help should be sought, according to John Hopkins University, if the rash covers a large portion of your body, is accompanied by a fever of 100 or more, or gets into your eyes, mouth, and sensitive areas of your body.

One way to help avoid poison ivy all together is being able to identify the 3 leafed vine before coming in contact with it or remember the saying “Leaves of three, leave it be.”

For more information on poison ivy or the New River Gorge National Park and Reserve, visit

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