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Itchy Ivy

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The itch from things like poison ivy is actually created by the human body, not the plant. An undisturbed plant (without even the influence of bugs) would not result in an itchy encounter because sap is only released once the plant is punctured. The sap's active ingredient is a chemical called urushiol. When human skin comes into contact with urushiol, the chemical sinks in and then the body combats the intruding substance with natural histamine. As you may know from commercials for things like Benadryl (and other antihistamines), histamine irritates the body, possibly causing us to itch.
Wash the skin within minutes of contact to avoid the itch.
If affected once, the body keeps a log of the specific areas targeted by the histamine. Upon additional exposure it is possible to get itchy in the previous places even if they remain untouched/unexposed.

 

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