Getting a reaction to poison ivy is never fun, but getting it on your eyes? That can lead to a world of pain, and for a 21-year-old in Connecticut, some unexpected attention on social media. Emily Petrozza of Newington is no stranger to poison ivy rashes, but the latest one she got from a fishing trip is now making the rounds on Twitter. Petrozza posted a picture of her puffy eyes to Twitter on Monday, and in less than 24 hours, she garnered 32,000 retweets and 56,000 likes.
“Don’t get poison ivy on your eyes,” she stated simply.
Petrozza’s warning proves that you are never too old to fall prey to this often maligned plant.
Poison ivy, or Toxicodendron radicans, causes its dreaded rash through contact with urushiol, a clear liquid compound in its sap. The compound binds to the skin and results in severe itching and inflammation. A little-known fact is that since the rash is caused by an allergic reaction, about 15 to 30 percent of people are not affected by poison ivy at all. Some, however, will experience more extreme symptoms.
Poison ivy is very common throughout much of North America and can easily be identified by its three-leaf clusters, hairy vines, and white berries. Due to this, poison ivy is often one of the first plants that children learn to identify and avoid. That doesn’t mean that contact with the plant is rare, however. To the contrary, it is estimated that there are about 350,000 people affected every year in the United States.
Perhaps it is fortunate that the rash can be treated with soap and cold water.
Petrozza says that the rash has mostly died down after taking some medication. For a while, she had difficulty seeing and described an intense itching in the back of her eyes.
“I didn’t recognize myself,” she told BuzzFeed News. “I could see a little bit, but my eyes were so swollen that it hurt to keep them open.”
You can see a short video of Petrozza’s eyes starting to puff up below.
— Rachel (@raachelds) June 14, 2016