Saturday, October 3, 2009


One of my favorite things about Fall is it's the last opportunity to go hiking. The city is filled with tourists enjoying the proverbial NY in the Fall, and I get to escape to the mountains for one last hike. The trees are in their utmost glory and the air is always crisp. One thing I don't like about hiking is the potential of poison ivy. It definitely makes you itch & scratchy.

Did you know that not everyone has a problem with poison ivy though? Most of us do though, & experts estimate that 3 out of 4 people will react. It's actually a type of allergy to a chemical called uroshiol. Uroshiol is an oil found on the leaves of poison ivy, poison sumac, & poison oak. Now, this is a different type of allergy than one that makes you sneeze or cough, it is called a contact allergy. It takes place typically about 2 days after you encounter it and can cause problems for people who are allergic to it. The symptoms can last for anywhere between 5-12 days!

A common myth about uroshiol allergy is that it's contagious- it's not. After you develop the allergy, most of the uroshiol oil (if you bath on a regular basis) on your skin has typically been washed off & you are left with only the allergic reaction.

Want to know an interesting factoid? People allergic to uroshiol will also have problems peeling the skin of a mango because they cross-react! They'll also have problems with ginko fruit & chest nuts. Luckily, you shouldn't have any problems eating the mango if you can find a friend to peel it for though.

Wishing you beautiful poison ivy free hiking, delicious mangos & spectacular views!

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