Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, Poison Sumac
(Allergic Contact Dermatitis; ACD; Contact Dermatitis; Allergic Dermatitis)
|Poison Ivy Rash|
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- Work or play in wooded areas during the spring, summer, and fall
- Touch pets or animals that have come in contact with these plants
- Handle clothes or objects that have come in contact with these plants
- Are exposed to the smoke of these plants if they are burned
- Swelling of the face or throat
- Rash on the genitals
- Swelling or rash that covers more than one third of your body
- Rapidly spreading rash
- Signs of a bacterial infection, such as pain, increased redness, or pus
If Rash Develops:
- Cool compresses with water or whole milk
- Oral antihistamines
- Calamine lotion
- Zinc oxide or baking soda (to dry oozing blisters)
- Diluted aluminum acetate solution (Burow's solution)
Cortisone creams—can relieve symptoms and may also shorten the duration of the rash
- These are available over-the-counter (much weaker) and by prescription.
- Oral corticosteroids—may be prescribed in severe cases
- Cortisone creams—can relieve symptoms and may also shorten the duration of the rash
- Learn what the plants look like and avoid all contact with them.
- Never burn these plants.
- Wear clothes that cover as much skin as possible when in wooded areas.
- Bathe pets in soapy water if you think they have come in contact with one of these plants.
- Wash any clothing or object that may have come in contact with these plants.
- Use an over-the-counter medication (such as Ivy Block, Stokoguard [bentoquatam 5%]). This may help prevent a rash if applied at least 15 minutes before exposure.
American Academy of Dermatology http://www.aad.org
US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) http://www.fda.gov
Canadian Family Physician http://www.cfpc.ca
Public Health Agency of Canada http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Poison ivy, western poison oak, poison sumac. Publication No.1699.
Stehlin IB. Outsmarting poison ivy and its cousins. FDA Consumer Magazine. 1996 Sep;30(7). US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm049342.htm. Accessed June 15, 2008
Stibich AS, et al. Cost-effective post-exposure prevention of poison ivy dermatitis. Int J Dermatol. 2000;39:515-518.
- Reviewer: Peter Lucas, MD
- Review Date: 09/2012 -
- Update Date: 00/93/2012 -