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  • 1. Preventing Skin Irritations Caused by Plants<br />By: Cari Elofson<br />Environmental Health and Safety Department<br />657.278.7233 (S-A-F-E)<br />
  • 2. Common Plant Irritations<br />Irritating plants can cause:<br />Cuts <br />Puncture wounds<br />Itchy, irritated skin<br />Painful blisters <br />Rashes<br />Boils<br />
  • 3. Skin Irritations – Sharp-edged or pointed leaves<br />Agave or Yucca have needle-sharp leaves<br />Can cut or cause skin abrasion<br />Pampas grass looks soft, but actually have razor-sharp edges <br />Can easily slice/cut skin<br />
  • 4. Skin Irritations - Thorns<br /><ul><li>Can cause cuts, abrasions and punctures </li></ul>Rose Bushes<br />Bougainvillea<br />Crown of Thorns<br />Wild Blackberries/ Raspberries<br />Always remove thorns to prevent infection.<br />
  • 5. Skin Irritations – Spines and Glochids<br />Spines – large barbed spines<br />barrel cactus<br />Glochids - very fine, hair-like, barbed thorns<br />prickly pear<br />can become embedded at the slightest touch<br />hard to see to remove<br />
  • 6.
  • 7. First Aid for Spines, Glochids &amp; Thorns<br />Use Tweezers.<br />Some spines are barbed, causing intense pain when removed.<br />Use “Comb Method” of removal for spines.<br />Insert teeth of comb between the barb and skin.<br />Quickly flip comb (and cactus) away from body.<br />Use “Duct Tape Method”<br />Adhere a piece of duct tape over the spines and pull it off.<br />
  • 8. Skin Irritation – Stem and Leaf Hairs<br />Stem and leaf hairs <br />fine hairs found on the stems and leaves of plants <br />harmless-looking but cause skin irritation<br />Local plants include:<br />Borage<br />Forget-me-nots<br />Sunflowers<br />
  • 9. Skin Irritation – Barely-There Irritant Fibers<br />Tulips<br />cause skin abrasions<br />very small, almost invisible fibers<br />People who frequently handle tulips bulbs can get a condition called &quot;tulip fingers“. <br />Caused the irritating fibers and a chemical in the bulb.<br />
  • 10. Skin Irritation – Stinging <br />Stinging plants have nettles. <br />Touching a nettle can cause a toxic reaction. <br />doesn’t last long <br />has no lasting effect<br />First aid<br />Wash with soap &amp; water<br />Apply antihistamine cream<br />Nettle leaf close up<br />
  • 11. Common Allergenic Plants<br />Cause allergic reactions in some people. <br />Pollen in these plants can cause hay fever or asthma.<br />Include: <br />Orchids<br />Chrysanthemums<br />Dahlias<br />Hyacinths<br />
  • 12. “The Poison Three”<br />Poison Ivy<br />Poison Oak<br />Poison Sumac<br />Relatives of the cashew, mango, and the sumacs.<br />Over ½ of all the people in the U.S. are sensitive or allergic.<br />Cause severe allergic reactions if a person comes in contact with them.<br />All three contain the same poison called “Urushiol”.<br />
  • 13. Poison Ivy<br />Found in West except for desert regions of California, Nevada and Arizona. <br />Found in wooded areas. <br />Grows as a shrub, ground cover and tree-climbing vine. <br />Green leaves that typically form bundles of three on one purple stem.<br />Rarely grows above 5000 ft.<br />
  • 14. Poison Oak<br />Usually not found above 4000 feet elevation.<br />More common in the western U.S.<br />Commonly grows as a shrub from 1 to 6 feet tall<br />Leaves are shaped somewhat like oak leaves.<br />Leaves usually grow in groups of three on a shared stalk.<br />
  • 15. Poison Sumac<br />Shrub or small tree up to 20ft.<br />Found all over the U.S.<br />Found in wet, wooded areas.<br />Long stem with many leaves of both green and purplish red colors with a red stem.<br />In Fall, colors range from bright yellow to deep purple.<br />
  • 16. Getting Rid of “The Poison Three”<br />Wear protective gloves and clothing!<br />Uproot it in late fall, when it has a minimum of poison.<br />NEVER burn it!<br />Smoke carries the oil, producing a rash over 100 percent of the body<br />If you inhale the smoke, you can get the rash in your throat, bronchial tubes, and lungs.<br />
  • 17. “Urushiol” the Poison Connection<br />Urushiol is the poisonous oil that causes allergic skin rash on contact. <br />Urushiol is found in poison ivy, oak, and sumac. <br />all parts of the plant, including roots, stems, and leaves<br />Doesn’t affect animals.<br />After 15 minutes of exposure, it bonds to the skin and can no longer be washed off.<br />
  • 18. Urushiol Exposure<br />You can get the oil on your skin by:<br />Touching the poison oak, ivy or sumac plant.<br />Touching any clothing, including shoes, that have come in contact with the plant.<br />Touching any gardening tools that may have the oil on it.<br />Touching any outdoor pets that have gotten the oil on their hair.<br />Burning the poison oak plant. The oil from the plant is carried in the smoke.<br />
  • 19. The Reaction<br />Symptoms include: <br />severe itching <br />reddish colored rash <br />blistering of the skin <br />“Contact Dermatitis” shows within 1 – 12 hours. <br />Severity depends on: <br />individual sensitivity<br />size of dose of Urushiol the person got<br />
  • 20. The Reaction<br />All parts of the body are vulnerable.<br />where the skin is thick, (i.e. soles of the feet, palms of the hands) <br /> = less sensitive<br />where the skin is thinner (i.e. around the eyes, underside of arms) <br /> = more sensitive.<br />
  • 21. Immediately wash irritated area: <br />Use non- oil containing soap.<br />Clean area with rubbing alcohol.<br />After the rash has developed, treatment is based on relieving symptoms.<br />Visit a doctor if you get a fever or have trouble breathing.<br />Treatment<br />
  • 22. Relieving the Symptoms What You Can Do<br />Use cool compresses.<br />Cold water or whole milk<br /><ul><li>Use over-the-counter itch creams.</li></ul>Calamine Lotion<br />Aloe Vera gel<br />Oatmeal baths/soaks<br />Take antihistamines.<br />Benedryl or similar<br />Wear loose, cotton clothing.<br />See a doctor if fever, infection or <br /> symptoms persist!<br />
  • 23. Emergency Treatment<br />Accidental poisoning can occur:<br /><ul><li>accidental ingestion
  • 24. inhaling smoke from poisonous plants
  • 25. trouble breathing
  • 26. high fever
  • 27. irritation and swelling in the throat
  • 28. can be deadly! </li></li></ul><li>Accident / Exposure Prevention<br />Communicate hazards.<br />Recognize and avoid hazardous plants.<br />Reassign employees who are extremely sensitive to toxic plants, to less exposed duties.<br />Wash tools, clothes, and other items came in contact with toxic plants.<br />Use commercial products that can help keep the urushiol oil from getting into your skin. <br />“Ivy Block” is the only FDA approved product.<br />Forms a clay-like coating on the skin.<br />
  • 29. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)<br />Wear protective clothing.<br />Long pants<br />Long sleeves<br />Boots<br />Gloves<br />Make sure all clothing overlaps to prevent exposure.<br />Use safety glasses or face shield when cutting.<br />
  • 30. Fatalities<br />There were no OSHA reported fatalities related to any of these plants for the years 1990-2009. <br />Source: OSHA Fatality Data-1990-2009 <br />
  • 31. True or False? Review<br />Wash your shoes separately in hot water after handling toxic plants. <br />Burning plants can release harmful toxins into the air. <br />After handling plants, always wash your hands and other exposed skin before eating, drinking, smoking, or going to the bathroom. <br />Don’t bother removing thorns from skin, they will eventually fall out on their own. <br />Wear short-sleeved shirts so you can spot skin reactions easily.<br />Copyright © 2006, The Ohio State University<br />
  • 32. References:<br /><ul><li>U.S. Food and Drug Administration, http://www.fda.gov/forconsumers/consumerupdates
  • 33. Poison Ivy, Oak, &amp; Sumac Information Center, http://poisonivy.aesir.com/view
  • 34. Treating Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, or Poison Sumac, http://www.drgreene.org/body.cfm?id=21&amp;action=detail&amp;ref=559</li>

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