With the summer months ahead, many people are planning outdoor activities such as hiking, biking and camping that can lead to exposure to poison ivy, poison oak or sumac. These plants have an oil called urushoil that most people have an allergic reaction to when it touches the skin. This is the most common allergy from plants, affecting almost everyone who comes in contact with the oil from almost any part of these plants. Exposure can come from direct contact with the plants or any item that transmits this oil to the skin.
Treating Poison Ivy Rash
Once the oil from poison ivy or the other related plants touches the skin, it cause an immediate allergic reaction. This consists of a red, itchy rash that can also include hives and blisters. Most people can treat the rash with over-the-counter medications such as calamine lotion and apply cool water to the affected area. Poison ivy rashes last about 10 days, sometime longer.
Some people may have a more severe allergic reaction to poison ivy and may need medical attention. Those who have large blisters that may release fluid and have chronic itching that is not relieved with the typical home treatments. In these cases, the rash can last for weeks, causing swelling, pain and irritation. There is a risk of skin infection if the rash is scratched, making it important to relieve the symptoms as soon as possible.
Those who have a severe reaction to exposure to poison ivy, poison oak or sumac should schedule an appointment with their local dermatologist. There are medical treatments that can help relieve the symptoms and promote faster healing.
Posted on behalf of:
Medical Dermatology Specialists
875 Johnson Ferry Road
Atlanta GA 30342