Poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac are all plants that can cause an itchy rash when the oil produced from the plants comes in contact with the skin.
The resin in the plants contains an oily substance called urushiol. Urushiol is easily transferred from the plants to other objects, including tools and animals. This chemical can remain active for a year or longer. It can be spread if the oils remain on the skin, clothes or shoes. This is why washing your hands, clothes, and shoes as soon as possible is very important. The oils can also be transferred from clothing, pets or smoke from a burning plant.
The rash from exposure to the poison plants cannot be spread from person to person by touching the blisters or from the fluid inside the blisters.
Common signs and symptoms of poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac include:
There in no cure for poison ivy once the rash starts. Avoiding the poison plants is the best treatment. It is very important to learn what the plants look like and not to touch them.
If contact with the plants has already occurred, you may be able to prevent the rash by following these steps:
Your physician may recommend treatments to relieve the itching, including:
Contact your physician if you have any of the following symptoms:
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (310) 825-6911.