Poison oak also grows in clusters of three leaves that contain the same chemical as poison ivy, urushiol. The main difference is that its leaves are lobed and look similar to that of an oak tree. Its leaves stand out in bright green in the spring, yellow or pink in the summer, and yellow to brown in the fall. If you remember the helpful saying, “leaves of three, let it be”, then you’ll be able to avoid both of these dangerous plants.
After coming into contact with urushiol it only takes a half-hour for the chemical to bind to your skin. At that point, it can no longer be washed off. During the binding period, the chemical can be spread to other parts of your body. If working in wooded areas always shower immediately after. Urushiol can remain on clothes and tools for a long period of time so it is wise to wash everything after coming in contact with it. DO NOT BURN any wood that had poison ivy or poison oak growing on it as the chemical can be inhaled and cause painful blisters down your throat.