This dangerous plant is secretly poisoning residents in Los Angeles County, California


Los Angeles County is rich in many areas, including culture, diversity, and the environment. There are a lot of native plants in Los Angeles County that support the local ecosystem. The county does not only have concrete jungles but also a tremendously diversified collection of trees, plants, and flowers thanks to its pleasant Mediterranean climate and peculiar topography. However, not all of the plants found in Los Angeles County are beneficial to the environment, at least not to humans or animals. In this article, we will explore one of the most poisonous plants found in Los Angeles County, which is deadly in all forms.

Pacific Poison Oak
Image for Representational purpose OnlyPhoto by James Whitney on Unsplash

Poison oak is not an oak at all, despite the fact that its leaves mimic those of white oak. According to the United States Forest Service, It contains urushiol oil, which is an allergen that produces contact dermatitis (an itchy rash) in the majority of people. The oil can be found all year, even on bare branches in the winter. Pacific poison oak thrives along the Pacific Northwest coast and in California.

Residents of Los Angeles County who live near wildfires are generally affected by the pacific poison oak unknowingly as when When Pacific poison oak burns, the plant's urushiol oil scatters in the air and is subsequently dispersed by wildfire smoke, as per the United States Forest Service.

There is no precise advice on how close you have to be to catch poison oak from wildfire smoke; nevertheless, experts claim that individual elements such as wind and personal susceptibility play a role.

"People who are exposed to urushiol oil repeatedly may become more sensitive, reacting to lower and lower concentrations. However, people become less sensitive to urushiol oil as they get older." Said United States Forest Service in a released Statement.

If you feel you have been exposed to urushiol oil from poison oak, the Centres for Disease Control & Prevention advises to take the following precautions:

  • Rinse skin immediately with rubbing alcohol, poison plant washes, dishwashing soap, and plenty of water.
  • Rinse your hands often. Make sure that the wash solutions do not dry on the skin and disseminate the urushiol more.
  • Using a brush, scrub under the nails.
  • To relieve itching, apply damp compresses, calamine lotion, or hydrocortisone cream to the affected area. Do not use it on broken skin.
  • For itching, use an antihistamine such as Benadryl.
  • Seek medical assistance right away if you have problems breathing or if the rash is on your face or genitals.

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Saurabh is a Computer Science & Engineering undergraduate student pursuing his writing interests. He enjoys researching current events/news as well as Evergreen Topics and has also been writing on Medium, Quora and Vocal.


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