HOOD RIVER, Ore. -- Poison oak is thriving this spring, growing in the mountains an also in city green ways and parks.
Ken Sandusky, a ranger with Gifford Pinchot National Forest, said since poison oak is a native plant, the forest service will not remove it unless the plants are blocking trails.
The oil on the plant causes an allergic reaction to an estimated 80% of humans. Animals are not believed to be affected. However, your pets can carry the oil on their fur and then petting that dog could cause a reaction for a human.
To avoid and recognize poison oak, look for a three-leaf pattern on the green plant. The leaves can be shiny with a reddish color and look similar to oak leaves.
If you come in contact with poison oak, wash your skin immediately with a soap that does not lather up, such as laundry detergent. Clothes should be washed and shoes cleaned with a detergent as well. Touching the bottom of your shoes could also spread the oil to your skin.
The itchy rash and blisters can develop within an hour of contact or take several days to appear. Once the rash shows itself, in most cases the skin will clear in 7-10 days. Calamine lotion can also be used to calm the rash.