Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac – Treatment

Poison Ivy

Poison oak, poison sumac, and poison ivy are some common harmful plants. An uncomfortable, itchy skin rash might develop after touching any of these plants. Nearly everyone is allergic to the urushiol oil that these plants generate. These plants commonly cause rashes that disappear after two weeks. OTC drugs are part of the treatment in the meantime.

Poison Ivy

An itching skin rash is brought on by the common deadly plant known as poison ivy. Poison sumac and poison oak are two other poisonous plants that can cause rashes. Urushiol is present in the oily sap that these plants produce.

An uncomfortable, itchy allergic response results from this. You get an itching rash on that part of your body when you come in contact with the toxic plant. Or something that has been exposed to the oil of the plant. This rash is an allergic contact dermatitis variant.

Poison Oak

Poison oak contains three leaflets, similar to poison ivy, but the tips are rounded. The undersides of the leaves are fuzzy and lighter than the tops. Typically, poison oak grows as a shrub in the Eastern and Southern United States. The shrub can occasionally produce white or yellow berries. In the Western United States, poison oak grows as a vine more frequently.

Poison Sumac

The poison sumac plant contains clusters of seven to thirteen pairs of smooth leaflets on each leaf. In the Northeast, Midwest, and certain areas of the Southeast of the United States, poison sumac flourishes in moist, marshy areas.

Poison sumac trees may reach heights of up to 20 feet when fully grown. The hanging clusters of fruit on this tall tree are light yellow, cream-colored, or green. Sumacs that are not toxic have upright, red berries. An allergic rash would not appear if you come into contact with non-toxic sumacs.

Symptoms of Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac

  • Bumps and itchy blisters appear after a rash.
  • Lumps will break down, leak, and eventually crust.
  • Skin in certain regions will become very scratchy.

Causes of Allergic Reaction

Urushiol, an oily chemical, is present in the plant resin. Toys, clothes, and animals may all readily pick up urushiol from plants. This substance has a one-year or longer life. It’s crucial to be aware that the oils may also be spread by pets, clothes, and burning plants. Furthermore, smoke contains them.

Treating a Rash from Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, and Poison Sumac

  • Avoid scratching if a rash appears because it might lead to an illness.
  • Leave blisters alone if they develop. Open blisters’ loose skin should not be removed. Because it might shield the wound beneath and fight infection.
  • Cool showers or quick, lukewarm baths might relieve itching. Avoid taking hot baths or showers as these could make the irritation worse.
  • The irritation associated with a poison ivy rash can be lessened with topical treatments, calamine lotion, or hydrocortisone cream.
  • It could be helpful to apply cool compresses prepared from damp washcloths straight on the itch.
  • Tablets containing antihistamines might help to lessen itching. Because these products might induce sleepiness in some people. But use this with caution.
  • Applying an antihistamine cream or lotion to your skin might make the rash worse.
  • If the rash is widespread or you can’t stop itching, consult a doctor.

When should I Make an Appointment with My Doctor?

If you have a toxic plant rash and you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • A rash that extends over 25% of your body.
  • A rash on the skin around your lips, nose, eyes, or genitals.
  • Fever or other symptoms of infection, such as red streaks.
  • Symptoms of anaphylaxis, such as wheezing, hives, and swelling.

The Bottom Line

An itching poison ivy rash is difficult to resist scratching. Fortunately, most rashes go away in a week or less with just minor treatment. Ask your doctor for advice on how to get rid of the itching. Also, keep in mind not to scratch! Even though you might temporarily feel better, scratching might infect your skin with microorganisms and make you feel worse.