Poison Ivy

Many people get a rash from poison ivy, oak, or sumac. The itchy, blistering rash may start 12 to 72 hours after coming into contact with urushiol, the oil produced by those plants.

Signs and symptoms:

  • itchy skin
  • redness or red streaks
  • hives
  • swelling
  • outbreak of blisters, often forming streaks
  • crusting skin (after blisters burst)

Ways to get a rash:

  1. Direct Contact
  2. By touching any part of the plant, all of which contain the active oil
  3. Indirect Contact
  4. Urushiol can stick to almost anything (i.e. pet’s fur, sports equipment, or gardening tools)
  5. Dogs and other animals do not get a rash.
  6. Airborne Contact
  7. Burning these poisonous plants releases particles of urushiol into the air. These airborne particles can land on the skin.

Medical treatment for:

  • any trouble breathing or swallowing
  • rash covering most of the body
  • general blistering or swelling
  • rash on face or genitals
  • severe itch

General tips:

  1. Immediately rinse skin with lukewarm, soapy water
  2. Wash clothing
  3. Wash everything that may have oil on surface
  4. Oatmeal baths
  5. Do not scratch; leave blisters alone
  6. Consider calamine lotion, hydrocortisone cream, and oral antihistamines