Firefighters fighting wildfires in the state of California are facing a brutal and sneaky enemy- Poison Oak.
Hundreds of firefighters battling flames in the recent Santa Barbara County fires have found themselves falling victim to Poison Oak, which can cause pain, itching, blisters and swelling.
“I’m one of the many that gets Poison Oak. I get it pretty bad,” firefighter Danny Haynes said. “For me it’ll often get on my face, my eyes will swell, I’ll get a bad rash on my arms or wherever it touches,” Haynes said.
It isn’t the first time Haynes has had the itch.
“I was on the Alamo Fire for about two weeks, had Poison Oak for about two weeks, got it pretty quick, a lot of guys get it when they’re out on the brush, you get it from hose, you can get it from equipment and you can get it directly from the plant and once you get the oil it’s just kind of on you and you’re stuck with it,” Haynes said.
According to KEYT, Poison Oak can also seep through clothing and firefighting gear if a firefighter is sweating. If severe, exposure to Poison Oak can call for medication.
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