Hug-a-Tree and Survive
Poison Ivy (Rhus radicans) is a common plant in Southwestern Ontario and it grows throughout Pinery Provincial Park (trails, campsites). Please review this information prior to your visit to the park and seek out Park Naturalists for further information once you arrive at Pinery. Poison Ivy is a woody plant that grows in three growth forms in Ontario, namely a low plant, a shrub and a climbing vine; the low plant and the climbing vine are known to be found in Pinery. Poison Ivy is a flowering plant with small greenish-white flowers blooming in spring and the plants bears small clusters of white berries throughout the year. It is important to recognize that all parts of the plant (roots, shoots, stems, leaves, vine) are covered in Urishiol Oil which causes an itchy skin reaction in most people. Dermatological reactions start a few days after exposure. People who develop a skin reaction should seek medical attention from their doctor.
If you are exposed to Poison Ivy, be sure to wash well with soap and water to remove the Urishiol Oil. Powdered laundry detergent mixed into a mildly abbrasive scrub with just a little water is best, but any soap will do. The oil can persist on clothing, footwear, equipment, and pets, so to prevent further exposure everything that has had contact with Poison Ivy should be washed as well. Pay particular attention to your footwear as often you may brush against it and then the Urishiol Oil may be transferred to your hands later when you remove your footwear. Clothing and footwear that you believe may have been exposed to Poison Ivy should be removed and washed in a washing machine.
Lyme Disease is an infection caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. These bacteria are spread to humans by the bite of infected Black-legged Ticks (Ixodes sp.). The risk of exposure to Lyme Disease is highest in places where Black-legged Ticks have established populations. The risk of contact with ticks begins in early Spring when the weather warms up and lasts through to the end of Autumn. Not all ticks are infected with (or carry) Lyme Disease and not all bites will result in the disease. The symptoms and health effects caused by Lyme disease can vary for each person. The most common symptom is a red, bull’s-eye rash that appears at the site of the tick bite between 3 and 30 days after the bite (average 10 days).
Ticks are very small and vary in size and colour depending on their species, age and whether they have been feeding. Ticks must feed on blood from an animal or person to live. They feed by inserting their mouth into the skin of a person or animal.
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