Summer is ending, you’re heading into fall. But you’re still sneezing and sniffling all day and into the night. What’s going on?
Odds are you’re among the 10% to 30% of Americans who suffer from hay fever, or allergic rhinitis. And most cases of hay fever are caused by an allergy to fall pollen from plants belonging to the genus Ambrosia -- more commonly known as ragweed.
You’ll notice three pointed leaves that change colors with the seasons:
Reddish in the spring
Green in the summer
Yellow, orange, or red in the fall
On some plants, the leaves have notched edges. On others, the leaves’ edges are smooth.
Poison ivy can grow as a bush or vine. You may see the vines climbing up the sides of trees or buildings.
The plants sometimes have white berries, which help it spread. Birds eat the berries and transplant the seeds on new areas along with their droppings. This may be why poison ivy is so common. It’s in each U.S. state, except for Alaska, Hawaii, and parts of the West Coast.
How to Spot Poison Oak
Look for three leaves shaped in lobes that look like the leaves of an oak tree.
The plant grows in low shrubs in the eastern U.S. On the Pacific Coast, it grows in long vines.
How to Spot Poison Sumac
Its leaves grow in groups of seven to 13 along its stems.
The plant can be a shrub or a tree. It has clusters of small, yellowish flowers that mature into clusters of glossy yellow or off-white berries.
Poison sumac is most common in the Midwest. It’s also found up and down the East Coast. It favors bogs, swamps, and the shores of the Mississippi River.
6 Ways to Avoid Poisonous Plants
1. Steer clear of areas where you know they grow.
2. Cover up with closed shoes, socks, long pants, long sleeves, and gloves. Wash any clothes that come in contact with poisonous plants as soon as possible.
3. If you get exposed, wash your skin with soap and warm water right away to get the plant’s oils off your skin. Some experts say that washing within the first hour may help limit the rash.