All About Poison Ivy Rash

What is poison ivy rash?

It is a rash that many people get after exposure to poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac.

What causes the rash?

This rash is caused by an oil found in the plants. This oil is called urushiol.

What does the rash look like?

It is an itchy blistering rash often does not start until 12 to 72 hours after you come into contact with the oil.

Is it contagious?

The rash is not contagious and does not spread. It might seem to spread to other parts of the body, but this is a delayed reaction.

How does a dermatologist treat poison ivy?

It depends on the extent of the rash. Treatment ranges from topical steroids to systemic steroids. If there is an infection, antibiotics may be prescribed as well.

When do I need to go to the ER?

You need to go to ER right away if you have

Trouble breathing or swallowing.

Rash covers most of your body.

You have many rashes or blisters.

Swelling, especially if an eyelid swells shut.

Rash develops anywhere on your face or genitals.

Much of your skin itches or nothing seems to ease the itch.

How long does it take for the rash to resolve?

Typically it takes 1-3 weeks

What can you do at home to treat the rash?

You can treat the rash at home if the area involved is small. The most important step is to wash your skin and wash all clothes that have come in contact with the oils of the plant. Anti histamine pills help, oat meal baths and cool compresses help.

The best treatment is prevention, but if you do get a rash, Skin Specialists can help treat your rash.



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