Severe Itching Caused by Okra Plants

Every year I have my vegetable garden and I always plant Okra, which I love. When I get around the plant and start picking, I start itching like I have gotten into poison ivy. I use long rubber gloves for my hands and part of my arms, but my neck, face and the rest of my body itches so bad that I can't wait to take a shower and lotion down. Can anyone help me with this problem?

Kay from Clyde,TX

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Sorry, I have this problem too. I wear long sleeves and rubber gloves (a real treat when it is 95 degrees). The more you can cover up the better. Then jump in the shower when you are done picking, if possible.

I hope someone else can offer a better solution than mine for you!

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It seems like the itching would be caused by the little hairs all over the plants... Could you try hosing them down to wash off the loose hairs? The water might also keep the remaining hairs from coming off so easily and keep them from flying up in the air and landing on you while you pick. That, and using rubber work gloves might help. Good luck!

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I would try to find someone to pick for me. Perhaps if you offered them some veggies in return? Then hose them down before bringing them in. Worth a try. Good luck.

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I think I'd buy it at the farmers market!

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This is very common with okra harvesting! The okra stings and makes my hands itch when preparing it for cooking. I love it, so I don't let it bother me too much.

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I don't know about okra, but I discovered this summer that Virginia creeper does it to me. I Googled "poison ivy" and learned that Virginia creeper does affect some people this way. It's a vining plant that has 5 leaves instead of poison ivy's 3. Just sending this in as an informational warning to others!


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I have the same problem. I cover up as much as possible (as stated),then harvested with a very sharp knife in one hand while trying not to come in contact with the plant at all...letting the okra drop to the ground and gathering them up after I'd cut all I wanted. I didn't itch unless I touched the wash up as soon as you get in the house and avoid touching your face before you wash.

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Go to your local hardware shop and see if you can buy an extension pruner. It is on a long telescopic handle, with a gripper next to the blade so that what you cut does not fall down. Might take a bit of practice to get used to.

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The best thing to do is to pick it when it is cool outside, like early in the morning.

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Home and Garden Gardening MiscellaneousAugust 30, 2007
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