It’s green, bushy and lurks in leaves of three: It’s poison ivy. Urushiol is an oily allergen that is found on the leaves of poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac. This toxin causes an uncomfortable skin rash that can easily spread to another person. With an abundance of nature-rich camp activities, it is important to familiarize your children with the appearance of these plants and ways to prevent this unpleasant itch.
Susan Schwartzman, head nurse at Camp Ramah, encounters less than four cases of the rash each summer.
“Historically, we have had more kids come to camp with poison ivy,” says Schwartzman.
Ramah’s camping and nature specialists recommend wearing additional clothing when hiking and gardening, and Fels-Naptha bar soap is helpful to remove the offending oils. Melaleuca and purification oils also can bring success, if calamine is not enough. Inform your children now about poison ivy, so they can enjoy camp this summer.