SATURDAY, Aug. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Summer can be a
particularly bad time for skin allergies such as eczema and hives,
as well as reactions to poison ivy, oak and sumac, an expert
This summer, high rainfall, humidity and temperatures combined
with increased levels of carbon dioxide in the air have resulted in
an "exceedingly potent" growth of poison ivy-related plants, said
Dr. Leonard Bielory, an allergy specialist with the Rutgers Center
of Environmental Prediction and an attending physician at Robert
Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, N.J.
"When picnicking or hiking though our parks this summer, beware of certain plants, especially some trees," he said in a hospital news release. "Many trees have leaves that are actually part of the (allergenic plant) vines that have embraced them."
Some of these allergenic plant vines are extremely large and
clearly noticeable, said Bielory, recalling the saying that helps
people avoid these troublesome plants: "Leaves of three, let them
Bielory added: "Some individuals are sensitive to the point that
their conditions can flare up when in contact with grass or other
plants. For protection, wear long pants and long sleeves if outdoor
plants cause a reaction."
He also offered tips to prevent eczema and hives or at least
reduce their symptoms:
- Be careful when outdoors. Heat or sweat can trigger hives.
Drink plenty of fluids, avoid becoming too hot and use
- Be prepared. Eczema can get worse in the summer, especially
with added sweating. Have a skin care treatment plan. This may
include using mild bathing products.
The American Academy of Dermatology has more about
poison ivy, oak and sumac.