Most sports practice skin care deals with rashes on the skin, a common complaint among athletes for many reasons.
Some runners and bicycle racers traverse off-road courses that take them into woodlands with toxic plants. Poisonous plants such as poison ivy, sumac and oak are among the three most common trouble makers for people who walk, run or bike beside or into woods.
All three plants contain the toxin urushiol which irritates the skin upon contact. According to the Northwestern University Health website, the symptoms of poison plant contact are:
Extreme itching and red rash
Red blisters or bumps
A rash that appears in streaks
If you have skin swelling and itching, wait a few hours for the tell tale “comet’s tail” red rash. This occurs when the leaves of the poison plant brush the skin and the rash appears in just the same place as the brush.
One of the myths of poison plants is that the rash can spread from person to person. The only thing that can spread is the oily urushiol. The rash itself cannot jump from one person to the next.
The best prevention, according to the Food and Drug Administration, is to avoid the source of the toxin. Learn how to identify poison ivy, oak and sumac. The old saying “leaves of three, let them be” is helpful while performing activity in affected areas.
Wash your running shoes and bicycle after a trip through or near woodlands. Wear protective clothing and cover your skin wherever practical to do so.
In the event your skin cannot be covered up during your sport, ask your health professional for a good barrier cream. Over the counter or novel homeopathic remedies can help, allowing for good sports practice skin care.