Poison Oak Safety Tips
Thank you for volunteering with the Trail Center.
Due to the ubiquity of poison oak (PO) in the San
Francisco Bay Area, assume that PO is present at all
trail builds. Here are some steps to avoid it and
what to do after you are exposed to it, i.e. cleanup
after the fact…
- Barrier cream, or lotion of any kind, applied
to exposed skin surfaces will reduce PO effects.
Don't forget your wrists and knees… Sock
gauntlets worn over the wrists can reduce the
chance of exposure.
- Plan to use a restroom before arriving at the
trail build site to reduce chances of exposure to
highly sensitive skin surfaces. Keep possible
contamination in mind when using restroom during
- Assume PO is on all tool handles. Wear gloves
whenever you touch tools!
- While trail building, watch where you stash
your backpack, water bottle, jacket, etc. "ID" that
PO before setting your things down!
- Bandanas are good for reducing the need to wipe
your forehead. Practice putting on and removing
gloves without touching the outside…
- In case of contact, apply Tecnu; follow
directions completely (i.e. rub Tecnu on skin for
two minutes before rinsing off)
- A few layers of newspaper on your car seat will
save having to wash it.
- Wash your car steering wheel and door handles
on the inside and outside.
- Wash your clothes ASAP (separately!). Wash the
machine by running an empty load w/soap on high
- Shower - don't bathe - with cool water first,
lather thoroughly, then use warmer water and soap
again. Liquid dish detergent may reduce the chance
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