This time of year all hikers and bikers should be aware of the poison oak that flourishes on our trails. Poison oak does not grow above 4000 feet, but Nevada City’s vast network of outdoor adventures are mainly below that elevation, so it’s worthwhile to brush up on poison oak 101 before heading out for a hike or a bike ride at this time of year.
- Do Not Touch It.
- Know what it looks like and try and stay away from it. The poison oak rash is caused by a chemical called urushiol which is present in poison oak leaves, branches and roots. When you touch it, the oil is absorbed into the skin. This is a poisonous substance, and the rash is the result of your body’s immune system fighting against this invader.
- You can get poison oak by touching any part of the plant. If an animal, such as your dog, gets in poison oak, you can get it from petting the dog (the dog will not get the rash though).
- You can get it from your clothing that touches Poison Oak. The rash does not appear until after the oil is absorbed into your skin, because it is caused by your body’s immune system.
- After hiking put all of your clothes in a bag and wash it all. Go out and hike on our trails, but be prepared. The Outside Inn office sells Technu and Zanfel, so if you fall in the bushes while out on the South Yuba Trail and can’t wait to get to CVS stop by and we’ll help you out, but the best advice is to know what it looks like and take the necessary precautions.