Poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac are a hazard year-round but the majority of people come into contact with them during the summer months. So if you're planning on camping, hiking, or simply working around the yard, you're going to want to know what these poisonous plants look like. Once you know how to identify them, it makes it a lot easier to avoid them.

If you come into contact with any of these, there are over the counter remedies but I suggest going to the doctor right away. If it's really severe, you can get a steroid shot or pills which helps so much. Also, remember to not scratch the infected part of your skin no matter how bad it itches, you'll only make it spread or the bacteria from under your fingernails can get into them and cause an infection.

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Alright, let's break this stuff down.

Poison Ivy

I'm highly allergic to it and for some reason, I come into contact with it almost every year. Even if I protect myself with gloves and long sleeves, I still end up getting it. I've even had it on the most horrific parts of my body (yes, my junk). I can't even begin to explain how awful that was.

Not everyone is allergic to poison ivy though. According to Web MD, up to 85% of Americans are allergic to poison ivy, leaving 15% in the clear of any reaction. It's actually the oil (urushiol) on the plant that people are allergic to, not the plant itself.

Poison Oak

Like poison ivy, poison oak can be found in many areas. Typically this plant can look like a shrub but it can also grow like a vine in shaded areas. Poison oak is very similar to poison ivy, it can have shiny leaves and also irritate the hell out of the skin.

Again, it's not the plant that is poisonous, it the nasty long-lasting oil called urushiol that causes the body to itch like crazy, plus a blistering rash after it touches your skin. Even slight contact, like brushing up against the leaves, can leave the oil behind just like poison ivy.

Poison Sumac

Poison sumac is less common in Michigan than poison ivy and poison oak and is more commonly found in southern states especially Florida. It's normally found in wet wooded areas in the southern parts of Michigan. Technically it looks more like a tree than your typical plant. If you do come in contact, your rash could become more severe than poison ivy and poison oak.

This is a great video with tips on how to avoid, prevent, and outsmart these poisonous plants.

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To prepare yourself for a potential incident, always keep your vet's phone number handy, along with an after-hours clinic you can call in an emergency. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center also has a hotline you can call at (888) 426-4435 for advice.

Even with all of these resources, however, the best cure for food poisoning is preventing it in the first place. To give you an idea of what human foods can be dangerous, Stacker has put together a slideshow of 30 common foods to avoid. Take a look to see if there are any that surprise you.

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