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  • Tips on managing Stress
  • Ways to stay motivated
  • The benefits of resistance training
  • How to improve your metabolism
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  • How to target stubborn fat areas
  • Healthy and tasty recipes
  • What muscle soreness really means
  • Learn how exercise affects your mood
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  • Weight loss and diet myths revealed
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    While there are dozens of plants that are poisonous for humans and animals to ingest, there are also some that are harmful to touch. Don’t want to become victim to the itch and rash of poisonous plants? Here are three of the most common poisonous plants to touch and how to identify them. Read >>
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Health and Fitness News

Beware Poisonous Plants!

Can you identify these three poisonous plants?

You spent the day working in your yard only to break out in a terribly itchy rash all over your hands and arms the next day. Come to find out you were exposed to poison ivy. Like other poisonous plants, poison ivy easily blends in with other foliage, making it hard to identify. In order to avoid contact with poisonous plants, you’ve got to know what to look for.

While there are dozens of plants that are poisonous for humans and animals to ingest, there are also some that are harmful to touch. A mere brush against them and you develop contact dermatitis, an allergic skin reaction that causes itching, burning, or inflammation. Don’t want to become victim to the itch and rash of poisonous plants? Here are three of the most common poisonous plants to touch and how to identify them.

#1: Poison Ivy

The most well known poisonous plant is poison ivy. You’ll find it in your backyard, along the roadside, and in the woods. It grows in vines that climb trees or creep along the ground. Most people know poison ivy because its leaves grow in clusters of three. A common warning you’ll hear is “Leaves of three, let them be.” But it’s not just the leaves you want to avoid. Touching the vines, roots, berries, or flowers of poison ivy will also give you an itchy rash. The entire plant from roots to leaves contains urushiol, a compound that causes an allergic reaction.

Besides leaves of three, the poison ivy plant stems do not have thorns and the leaves’ edges are notched, but not saw-toothed. The middle leaf has a longer stem than the side leaves. Vines of poison ivy that grow up the sides of trees are often hairy. In spring and summer the leaves are green, turning yellow or red in the fall. Young leaves may be shiny.

#2: Poison Oak

Poison oak is more difficult to identify than poison ivy. It’s easy to think poison oak is related to the oak tree, but it’s not. While its leaves sometimes resemble oak leaves, the tricky thing about poison oak is that the leaves grow to look similar to the plants around it. Sometimes the leaves are rounded, other times they’re jagged or oak-leaf shaped. Some poison oak plants have shiny leaves, while others have dull.

Like poison ivy, poison oak leaves grow in groups of three, and the two side leaves of a poison oak plant are directly opposite of each other. The plant may grow like a bush, vine, or along the ground. Found mostly in forests and dry, sandy fields, poison oak leaves are green in the spring and summer and turn bright red in the fall. It blooms small white or yellow flowers that may form tan or green berries. Beware of this tricky plant because like poison ivy, all parts of the plant contain urushiol that may cause an allergic reaction.

#3: Poison Sumac

A third plant that contains urushiol is poison sumac. Typically found along streams, in wetlands, or near ponds, poison sumac likes to grow near water sources. Shaped like a shrub or small tree, poison sumac is most recognizable by the red stems that branch off the main trunk.

Each red stem holds between 7 and 13 leaves in pairs. The leaves have smooth edges and turn from green to red, pink, or yellow in the fall. You may notice brown or black spots on the leaves. This is concentrated urushiol and is therefore most poisonous to touch. The plant produces yellow or green flowers and flat, gray berries. Touch any part of the plant, and you’ll likely break out in an itchy rash.