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Hiking is a popular activity for those who enjoy spending time in the great outdoors and exercising. Although it can be fun to explore new settings in nature, there are a few plants that can be dangerous to encounter. Here are a few of the plants that you should steer clear of while hiking, as well as how to identify them and treat a reaction if you come into contact with them.

Poison Oak

According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, poison oak causes a skin rash, which can become red and itchy if you come in contact with the plant. After a few hours, fluid-filled bumps can form on the skin. Many people also develop hives. Those who have a severe reaction to poison oak will need to visit a walk-in clinic to obtain corticosteroid pills for relief. In most cases, the symptoms will resolve with cold compresses, antihistamines, and calamine lotion.

You can identify poison oak by its leaves. The leaves resemble oak leaves as an upright shrub that can grow up to three feet tall. The leaves also have "hair" on both sides.

Poison Ivy

Those who encounter poison ivy often have a skin reaction, which can appear immediately or up to five days later. About 85% of the population is allergic to it. When the leaves of the plant are brushed or bumped, urushiol is released, which can transfer from one person to another. The urushiol often leads to a rash, which can be accompanied by a fever. MD Proactive advises taking some over-the-counter medication such as Benadryl for relief. Unfortunately, poison ivy is commonly found in suburban or rural areas and easily blends in with other plants. Contact with the plant can be avoided by wearing long sleeves and pants while hiking.

Oleander

Oleander may be beautiful, but it is poisonous to both animals and humans. Solv says that it can lead to severe symptoms that include vomiting, stomach pain, fatigue, dizziness, and diarrhea. For those who have accidentally consumed the plant, it's important to visit a local hospital to ensure that the stomach can be pumped. Charcoal can also be ingested to absorb the poison from the plant.

Researching the different types of plants that can pose a threat out in the wild is necessary to protect yourself. Understanding how these common plants can affect you and the proper treatment methods that are available will allow you to continue enjoying hiking and remain safe.

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