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Gardeners and doctors see more poison ivy problems this year

July 25, 2013|By Kristin Bien, WSBT-TV Reporter

The weather we've had this spring and summer is great for many plants but, unfortunately, also for many weeds. That's why garden experts and some doctors are seeing more people with rashes from poison ivy.

In her 31 years, Tomi Kehr has never had poison ivy...until now.

"Its itchy. Extremely itchy," says Kehr.

Kehr had itchy, blotchy blisters all over her arms, neck and fingers-- the classic sign of poison ivy.

"It is welted and it starts like a little water blister and then it gets to be more red, says Kehr, "now it is starting to go down and so it just itches. Constantly itches."

She got it as she was clearing bushes at her dad's house. The poison ivy there is everywhere-- in the bushes and along the fence.

"He has been spraying this," says Kehr as she points to a wilted vine of poison ivy, "But you can see just how much is still there."

Kehr and her father are not alone. Garden experts say poison Ivy is bad this year.

"Well it has got everything to do with the weather, the climate," says Greg Leyes from Ginger Valley.

Leyes says the cool damp spring and now our warm wet summer has meant perfect growing conditions. Leyes says this year is an especially bad year for poison ivy.

"Of course when anyone sees any kind of a vine, it is a good assumption to assume any vine climbing vine could be poison ivy," says Leyes, "you know the old saying "leaf of three let it be." If it has got three leaves, the odds are pretty good that it is poison ivy. That is something that should be killed."

Kehr agrees and she has the welts to prove it.

"Best I can say is kill it as soon as you see it and don't touch it," says Kehr.

Some area doctors say they are seeing more patients with poison ivy rashes. There are some options for those people including medications. But just remember if you come in contact with it, wash with soap and water right away. It takes 24 to 72 hours before the rash shows up and by then it is too late.

Dr. Jason Jaronik, ER doctor from St. Joseph Hospital says the two most common places people get poison ivy rashes is gardening gloves and shoe laces, because people never wash those items.

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