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Tips for treating poison ivy

August 30, 2019


A rash from poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac is caused by an oil found in these plants. When this oil touches your skin, it often
causes an itchy, blistering rash. For many people, the rash begins a few hours to a few days after skin has come in contact with the oil. In some cases, the reaction may not appear until one to two weeks later. Most people can safely treat the rash at home. Go to the emergency room if you have any of
the following symptoms: Trouble breathing or swallowing, or the rash covers most of your body. You may be able to treat your rash at home if: The rash appears on a small section of your
skin. You are absolutely certain that your rash
is due to poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac. If you are not certain, see a dermatologist
and do not try to treat the rash at home. If you have been exposed to poison ivy, poison
oak, or poison sumac, rinse your skin right away with lukewarm soapy water. You may be able to rinse off some of the oil. Thoroughly wash in a washing machine all of
the clothes you were wearing when you came into contact with the poisonous plant. The oil can stick to clothing. If this oil touches your skin, you can get
another rash. Wash everything that may have the oil on its
surface, such as gardening tools, golf clubs, leashes, and even a pet’s fur. Wash tools and other objects with warm, soapy
water. If you develop a rash from poison ivy, oak,
or sumac, it usually lasts 1 to 3 weeks. During this time, your skin can itch. It is best not to scratch. Scratching can cause an infection. Leave blisters alone. If blisters open, do not remove the overlying
skin as the skin can protect the raw wound underneath and prevent infection. To ease the itch at home, dermatologists recommend
trying one or more of the following: Take short lukewarm baths with a product that
has colloidal oatmeal, which you can buy at your local drugstore. You also can draw a bath and add 1 cup of
baking soda to the running water. Short cool showers also can help. Apply calamine lotion to skin that itches. If you have a mild case, a hydrocortisone
cream or lotion may also help. You can make a cool compress by wetting a
clean washcloth with cold water and wringing it out so that it does not drip. Then, apply the cool cloth to the itchy skin. Antihistamine pills can help reduce itching. Use with caution as some antihistamines make
people feel drowsy. Some people develop allergic reactions to
this medication, causing more itching and rash. If you have a serious reaction, you need to
see a doctor right away, especially if: you have many rashes or blisters; you have swelling, especially if an eyelid
swells shut; the rash develops anywhere on your face
or genitals; or much of your skin itches or nothing seems
to ease the itch. If your rash is not improving after 7 to 10
days or you think that your rash may be infected, see a board-certified dermatologist. A dermatologist can treat your rash and any
infection as well as help relieve the itch. To find a dermatologist in your area, visit
aad.org.

8 Comments

  • Reply neobja June 9, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    Great information, thanks.

  • Reply Zhang Gerard January 21, 2015 at 3:45 am

    Professional, good speak!

  • Reply Eric Sandoval May 9, 2015 at 9:27 am

    What about aloe vera plant? That seemed to work well when I got it.

  • Reply Samantha Busch July 5, 2015 at 2:18 am

    You're supposed to wash with COLD water and soap. If you wash your skin with lukewarm or warm water your pores open up and you'll get a rash.

  • Reply Michael Evanoff September 7, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    Poison oak really sucks. Dress properly before working around any poison oak or ivy.

  • Reply kly yu September 17, 2015 at 9:39 pm

    what do dermatologist do to your skin?

  • Reply Todd Stepp October 25, 2016 at 8:00 am

    If you get poison ivy really bad like I do. Go to the doctor. Calamine is a waste of time for really bad poison ivy like I get. Go to the doctor and get Prednisone. Don't go insane from the itching. Your doctor can fix this. Don't mess around.

  • Reply Rivers Matthew July 27, 2017 at 1:36 pm

    I have got it bad a bunch of times throughout my life and the only way I get it relief is to get water as hot as I can and put the infected area in the hot water… I do it in the shower when I can. While under the hot water it itches like crazy but after, the itch is gone for a while…

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