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Can You Get Poison Ivy From Firewood?

Can You Get Poison Ivy From Firewood

Poison ivy can be a major aggravation when you’re trying to enjoy the great outdoors. Anyone who has ever had a poison ivy rash knows it’s extremely uncomfortable. While you know to check wooded areas for the plant, can you get poison ivy from firewood?

Firewood can be infested with poison ivy, and that poison ivy is just as likely to give you a rash as it would if you were to brush across a plant in the forest. Once the plant wraps itself around firewood in any capacity, it’s pretty much there for the long haul. 

If possible, avoid any firewood that looks to have potential poison ivy on it. To do so, you should know how to detect it, as well as what to do with the wood so you don’t spread the poison ivy to yourself or others. 

Can You Get Poison Ivy From Firewood?

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You can get a poison ivy rash from firewood. It can be really hard to notice poison ivy in or on firewood, sadly, until you’ve already come into contact with it. If you live in an area that is known for having a lot of poison ivy, there are protocols you can implement so you can avoid picking wood with poison ivy on it. 

The best way to tell whether or not a plant is poison ivy is if it has three green leaves on each branch, and the leaves are about medium sized. The oils in poison ivy are what causes a rash, unless you’re one of the very few people in the world that doesn’t happen to be allergic to poison ivy. 

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How Long Does Poison Ivy Stay On Firewood?

Poison ivy can stay on firewood for many, many years. Even if the plant is dead, and the leaves are gone, traces that can cause a rash can live for up to five years afterwards.

The oil itself has been known to survive for even longer; even for centuries. It doesn’t take a lot of this oil to give you a rash, either. 

O You Remove Poison Ivy From Wood?

Before trying to remove any poison ivy from wood, you need to make sure you cover yourself from head to toe to avoid any exposure. This should include gloves and protective eyewear. When handling poison ivy, do not touch bare skin under any circumstances until you’ve removed all coverings and have washed your hands thoroughly, even when wearing gloves. 

You can then take a plastic bag and cover the plant with the bag, pulling the plant out once you have it in the bag. Throw that plastic bag into a trash bag immediately. If you have quite the large amount in your wood, you may have to use an herbicide. Just be sure the herbicide has the capacity to kill poison ivy. 

If you don’t want to kill any plants near the poison ivy, you can be more precise with how you apply the herbicide, since herbicide for poison ivy is very potent. You may have to use a small tool like a q-tip or toothbrush to make sure you only touch the poison ivy with it. 

Wait a couple days for the plant to die, then pull it off, being sure you’re completely covered, putting the dead plant in plastic, then putting the plastic in a trash bag. Poison ivy is still infectious when it’s dead, and it can spread very fast. Even though you can’t use the wood afterwards, killing the plant will ensure it can’t spread anymore. 

All clothing should be cleaned right away with cold water, and shouldn’t be put in the laundry with any other items. You should also clean off your shoes, goggles, and any other tools you used to remove the poison ivy right away. 

Can You Burn Wood That Has Poison Ivy?

Firewood or wood that has poison ivy should never, ever be burned. In fact, doing so is considered illegal in a variety of states and other areas. Even if it’s legal to burn it, doing so could have devastating health effects. 

Poison ivy contacts an oil called urushiol, and this is what gives people a rash when they come into contact with it. This oil is flammable, and creates a very toxic and harsh smoke that can end up burning your throat, nose, and lungs. 

Some of the signs that you’ve burned poison ivy, and should seek medical attention as soon as possible, include:

  • A rash in your mouth or on your lips
  • Trouble breathing
  • A rash appearing anywhere on your body
  • A fever 

How To Treat Poison Ivy 

If you’ve come into contact with poison ivy, clean the area that has been exposed as soon as possible. Avoid being around others until you’ve cleaned the area thoroughly. After putting on gloves, wipe the area thoroughly with rubbing alcohol, and wash the area with water afterwards. 

Once you’ve done these two things, it’s recommended that you shower with soap and water. You should also treat your clothes and any other surfaces that may have come into contact with the poison ivy with rubbing alcohol and water. 

You should stay out of the area where you caught poison ivy for at least a day afterwards, as exposure after cleaning with rubbing alcohol can be significantly worse. 

Final Thoughts 

Poison ivy can create a host of problems for your firewood, rendering it useless. But can you get poison ivy from firewood? You can get a rash from poison ivy attached to any surface, regardless of how much there is, and regardless of whether or not the plant is alive or dead. 

Picking firewood takes a discerning eye so you can avoid bringing any hitchhikers with you, whether that be infectious plants, bugs, or fungus.

If you like to keep firewood on your property, make sure it’s stored extremely well and kept elevated. Doing so will help keep poison ivy from poisoning your firewood, as does keeping your eye out for the annoying plant.

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