Coming into contact with a poison ivy plant can cause an allergic reaction from a chemical oil called urushiol. This resin creates a red blistery rash on your skin within a couple days after exposure. This itchy rash is not contagious but can last for up to three weeks. Here are tips to help you prevent and treat poison ivy.
Poison Ivy Prevention
Poison ivy plants typically feature three leaves with smooth edges and grow in wooded areas. Do some research on what the plant looks like before you spend time in nature. Wear long sleeves and pants to help prevent accidental contact. Use rubber gloves whenever you are pulling weeds or gardening. Be careful when touching your pet that has been outdoors. The resin can stick to their fur and create an allergic reaction when petting them. Wash your pet with pet shampoo and water while wearing rubber gloves if you suspect they may have come in contact with poison ivy.
Poison Ivy Treatments
There are many ways you can treat poison ivy at home. Remove any clothing that may have come into contact with the oil and wash in hot water separate from the rest of your laundry. Rinse your skin and fingernails with only cool to lukewarm water immediately after exposure to remove the oil. Using soap can cause the oil to spread to other parts of your body.
Applying cold and wet compresses several times a day to the affected area can be effective to provide relief. Cortisone creams and calamine lotion can be beneficial to ease itching. Taking short cool baths with colloidal oatmeal can help control inflammation. Scratching the affected area can result in an infection. Seek medical help immediately if you experience trouble breathing, swelling or rashes around your mouth or genitals.
Seek Professional Help for Poison Ivy
If you are unable to find relief from your poison ivy rash, you may want to seek medical treatment. Seeking a consultation with a qualified dermatologist is the best route to ensure your poison ivy rash is properly diagnosed and treated. A dermatologist can provide personalized recommendations and medications to reduce your painful symptoms. Medical Dermatology Specialists can provide progressive and advanced skin care treatments for all types of allergic contact dermatitis. Call to schedule an appointment for your poison ivy rash today.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Jamie Weisman, Medical Dermatology Specialists, Inc.
Medical Dermatology Specialists, Inc.
5730 Glenridge Dr, Suite T-100
Atlanta, GA 30328
Monday – Thursday 7:30 AM – 5:00 PM