Identifying Poison Oak

August 23, 2022

More people spend time outside when the weather is warm and nice, but with that comes the risk of running into a poisonous plant. Do you know how to identify poison oak or what to do if you or someone comes in contact with it?

Poison oak can vary by season and location. Generally, this toxic plant is found in the southeast and west coast of the United States and can cause allergic reactions year-round. 

Atlantic poison oak is found throughout the east coast and in several non-coastal states such as Tennessee, Arkansas, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, New Jersey, and Florida. Meanwhile, pacific poison oak exhibits yellow or green flowers with clusters of green-yellow or white berries. It can grow on shrubs and vines along the pacific northwest and California. 

Poison oak is often confused with poison ivy. Can you tell the difference?

Poison Oak

Leaves are rounded and irregular in shape

Can have up to nine leaflets

Dull or shiny green in color

Leaves are hairy on both sides

Does not climb, typically grows as a shrub

Poison Ivy

Leaves are jagged and uniform in shape

Only has three leaflets

Bright green in color with a red center

Has fuzzy-bottomed leaves

Usually grows as a vine

Both poison oak and poison ivy can grow in sunny or shady forests and woodlands.

Poison oak can cause a skin rash in nearly 85 percent of the population. Limit exposure to poison oak by wearing long sleeves, pants, boots, and pants while traversing woodlands or previously unexplored areas. If you might have been exposed to poison oak, wash your contaminated clothing separately in hot water with detergent. 

Wash the exposed skin with soapy water and apply an antihistamine ointment to soothe itching and inflation. Using an ice pack for a short duration may help symptoms, along with a dose of over-the-counter Benadryl. See your doctor or call 911 if symptoms seem severe or you have trouble breathing, fever, and/or if the rash spreads to the face or eyes.

Wolf Survival Gear is a hub for your prepping and survival needs. We are your trusted resource for concerned families, avid hunters, or serious preppers. Make us your one-stop-shop and prepare now, before you’ll need it later. 

Written by the digital marketing team at Creative Programs & Systems: