Climate change making poison ivy more dangerous, stronger - KCTV5

Climate change making poison ivy more dangerous, stronger

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KANSAS CITY, KS (KCTV) -

Poison ivy is the number one outdoor skin allergy in the world and grows in every state in the country except California, Alaska, and Hawaii. Now, local doctors say it's more potent than ever, and it boils down to the air we breathe.

With more carbon dioxide in the air today, the leaves grow larger, making the allergy-causing oils, supercharged. It takes less than a grain of salt to cause red, itchy blisters that can last for weeks.

Dr. Daniel Aires, director of dermatology at the University of Kansas Hospital, said he has seen more cases of poison ivy in his practice. He said there is a "golden period" of 20 minutes to wash your clothes and scrub the allergens from your skin.

Aires stressed, "Use rubbing alcohol, not soap. Soap can actually spread it. Alcohol can get it off you."

The problem is that you don't even have to be touched by it to be exposed.

Your pets can carry the oils on their fur and transfer it to you. Poison ivy should never be burned as the oils can get in the air and infect your respiratory system.

The oil can remain on your clothing or other outdoor tools for up to five years. Yes, you could put a golf club in the garage and years later receive a rash.

The Food and Drug Administration has approved a barrier creme that you can apply before you go out, it's over the counter called: Ivy Block.

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