Poison Ivy, Poison Oak & Poison Sumac

Know The Symptoms Of A Poisonous Plant Reaction

Poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac produce urushiol, an oil that causes an allergic reaction. The reaction occurs with contact to any part of the plant, resulting in blisters, burning, itching, and redness. The inflammation is considered contact dermatitis and isn't contagious. Poison ivy is prevalent in the Eastern United States while poison oak is more common in the Southeastern United States.

Exposure to poisonous plants causes reactions such as itchy, red blisters and bumps that form in the contact area. The rash generally appears within two days of contact and clears up within 14 days to 21 days.

Treatment focuses on relieving the itching and may include oral antihistamines and cortisone creams, either over-the-counter or prescription. For effective treatment, medications should be applied before blisters appear or after the blisters have dried up. Oral steroids, such as prednisone, are used with severe cases.

Preventing contact with poison ivy, oak, and sumac is possible with identification and avoidance. Though these plants grow alongside other vegetation, all three feature a classic three-leaf formation.

Reduce skin exposure by wearing long sleeves and pants when outdoors around vegetation. If you come into contact with a poisonous plant, wash the area with cool water as soon as possible. Wash any clothing that was also exposed to help limit the allergic reaction.

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