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Health Minute: Poison Ivy, Oak & Sumac

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WPSU’s Health Minute is a collaboration with Penn State’s College of Nursing. 


Summer months are ideal for gardening, hiking, biking, and wandering outside. But it’s important to stay protected from poisonous plants such as poison ivy, oak, and sumac.  


These plants produce a sap oil that can cause allergic reactions including a red rash, swelling, itching, and blisters on the skin. Home first aid includes washing the area exposed with soap and water and applying a cream to reduce itching.  


Some allergic reactions may be serious and can impact breathing. If the reaction is severe, get professional medical care.  


Protect yourself by learning to identify poisonous plants by sight, wearing long sleeves, pants, and boots, and wearing gloves while in areas where these plants grow.  


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Cheraine Stanford is the Content Strategy Director at WPSU, responsible for developing the station's original productions across digital, radio and television.
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