Rains Create Poison Oak Bumper Crop

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    It's popping up in canyons all over the county. Touch it and you will pay an ugly price.

    After a healthy rainy season - at least by San Diego standards - poison oak is becoming more obvious in our area.

    "There's not necessarily more of it, but it's more obvious, more lush because of the rains we've had," said Jon Rebman, a botanist with the San Diego Natural History Museum.

    If you are unfortunate enough to make an unplanned encounter with poison oak, medical experts say expect to see a rash within 12 to 48 hours, followed by redness and swelling and severe itching. Not exactly fun stuff. Experts say over-the-counter calamine lotion will help relieve the rash and offer some comfort. With quick and proper treatment, it will usually take about 10 days to clear up.

    Of course, the best way to avoid poison oak is to be aware of your surroundings, wear long pants and long sleeves if possible. That may not be the most comfortable attire for a hike, but it beats the alternative should you run into poison oak.