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Poison Ivy, Sumac & Oak

Poison Ivy, Sumac & Oak

KMC Dermatology

What can one do about Poison Ivy, Sumac & Oak Reactions?

Prevention is the best cure. If you are going to be in areas where there are poisonous plants, wear long pants, gloves and boots. The poisonous plants have an oily resin – urushiol – that causes a reaction on the skin. Several barrier creams (Ivy Block, Stokoguard, etc) are marketed to absorb urushiol and prevent its contact with the skin following exposure; however, they do not provide total protection and require that the area be thoroughly washed within hours following contact.

How are Poison Ivy, Sumac & Oak rashes treated?

First, wash all exposed areas with soap and water to remove as much of the urushiol as possible. Since urushiol can be active for months on clothing, tools, etc, it is important to handle the exposed clothing as little as possible, and to wash all clothing, sporting or camping gear, tools and other possibly contaminated objects thoroughly after an exposure. Be aware that the resin can be carried on your pet’s fur – and animals do not develop the allergy.

To treat the symptoms of poison ivy, you may utilize cool showers, oatmeal baths or over the counter cortisone creams to help lessen the discomfort. Antihistamines can be helpful for the itch. If the rash is severe, see your dermatologist.

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All information provided herein is for educational purposes only. If you have a medical condition, please consult a physician to get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

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