Nature Bulletin No. 32 September 15, 1945
Forest Preserve District of Cook County
Clayton F. Smith, President
Roberts Mann, Superintendent of Conservatio.
We learned that in some schools last year, these weekly nature bulletins
did not reach the science or biology teachers; in some they were not
posted on any bulletin board, thus defeating their purpose. Four copies
are sent to each elementary school in Chicago, and 9iX copies to each
high school. We earnestly request that one or more copies be posted for
one week on the appropriate bulletin boards, after which they be
transmitted to the science or biology teachers for their use.
No. 26, dated August 4, stated that some protection against
poison ivy could be obtained by rubbing the legs, arms, face and hands
with a pasty lather of strong, brown laundry soap, allowed to dry on the
skin. And that, as soon as possible after contact, the exposed skin
should be washed with the same soap.
We were wrong. The authority from whom we got the recommendation
was wrong. We have received a bulletin "Poisonivy and Poisonsumac"
by William M. Harlow, published by the New York State College of
Forestry at Syracuse University. Dr. Harlow's bulletin should be in the
library of every public school, and particularly every botany teacher.
The latest experiments show that, because of the absorbent nature of the
human skin, all measures to get rid of the poison must be taken
immediately after contact, or within a few minutes And that the best
solution appears to be a 10 percent water solution of potassium
permanganate. Oily ointments should be avoided in the initial stages of
poison ivy dermatitis, since they tend to dissolve and further spread the
poison. Any suspected ivy poisoning involving an appreciable area of
the skin should be immediately referred to a physician. Of the 250
different "remedies", the few that are really effective should be used
only under the direction of a physician.
One large drug-manufacturing firm advertises a poison ivy extract to be
injected beneath the skin. It is claimed that such injections will prevent
poison ivy dermatitis in persons known to be susceptible, or will effect
a quick cure on persons who have acquired it. We have requested Dr.
Harlow's opinion of this extract as a preventative and as a remedy.
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Update: June 2012