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Poison Ivy Sensitivity Decreases with Age

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. With my sixty-eighth birthday coming up, combined with a need for stronger reading glasses and various aches and pains, I’ve been feeling a little long in the tooth. But after a case of poison ivy sent me to educational websites, I’m readjusting.

I’m one of those sensitive individuals for whom exposure to this plant causes a horrible case of pruritus -- the medical term for a skin condition that makes you want to scratch – and scratching poison ivy makes it itch even more! Several sources, I read, however, report that often sensitivity decreases with age. So I’m mentally rolling back my clock and planning on having many more years working in my yard eradicating this native vine. It’s great for wildlife, animals are immune to its effects, but I’m going to let the plants growing in the woodlands and bottom lands fill that need.

Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.