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    Prev skinirritationfromplants Prev skinirritationfromplants Presentation Transcript

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