I want to give you a hint of the week, in case you did not know this already: if you have poison ivy in your yard, you should rinse with Tecnu after gardening. This stuff is just magic. I am sure there are other items out there, but this is my go-to Product. I have started giving it as a housewarming gift to new neighbors.
Poison Ivy (PI) is having a robust growing season this year. If you walk in or near the woods in Reston, you can see it and Poison Oak (PO) climbing up trees, forming branches 4 inches in length and flowering right now, if you care to look close enough. They have a beautiful, yellow fall color and they are one of the earliest plants to turn in the fall. It is that time of the year that you can really tell how pervasive it is around here.
To identify PI, look for "leaves of three" - each leaf has irregular serrations so they don't look identical. Some other leaves, like on blackberry plants, have very even serrations almost like those on a knife. Also, on PI vines, there are no thorns and the initial new growth in the spring is copper colored, which is very distinct. In addition, when they climb up trees, the vines form a very hairy covering to stay attached to the tree trunk.
A little hint about this hardy, native three-leafed wonder vine: If you pull it up or kill it with a chemical, the residual toxins are still in the soil for many years. Some say it could be over 100 years. Even if you remove the vine from the tree, the toxins will remain active on the tree. A neighbor removed a patch of PI one year from the side of her house and the next year, thinking it was okay to plant, she dug like a crazy person perparing the soil for her new plants. She had a severe outbreak and had to get herself to the doctor! It has not happened since she bought Tecnu,
This also pertains to your tools- you can and should wipe them down with Tecnu, rinse and dry them. I am not sure if it works on your dog or cat who might easily be trampsing through the PI forest near your house this time of year, I would check with your vet for advice on treating your pet.
Recently, my daughter and I were out doing some community service by picking up trash around the stream beds since we could not make the Potomac River clean up day. We were at the Lake Audubon Pool parking lot, standing in a denuded patch of ground with some vines sticking up about 18-24" getting the bottles out of the soil. All of a sudden, I realized we were standing in the middle of a whole patch of PI! Could not wait to get home and cover my exposed limbs with Tecnu before my shower!
Too bad I did not remember to wash my shoes for a week though. I got a lesion near my ankle from rewearing those, but, overall, a successful treatment for a potentially disasterous situation.
Tecnu can be found at just about any pharmacy in the area - though I think you have to "place an order" from the Safeway pharmacy even though it is over the counter. It does not smell very good, but I nearly bathe in it after working in my yard. It removes the oils from your skin left by poison ivy and poison oak.