“Leaves of three – let them be.” Don’t forget this mantra as you explore the outdoors this summer. Poison ivy, poison oak or poison sumac all contain the same plant oil that can cause an allergic reaction in nearly 85% of people that come in contact. This oil, called urushiol, is known for creating itchy and even unbearable skin rashes. Urushiol is a colorless or pale yellow oil that secretes from any part of the plant when cut, including the roots, stems and leaves. The severity of the reaction can vary depending on how much oil gets on your skin and how sensitive you are to the plant. A poison ivy skin rash can include the following symptoms:
- Itchy skin
- Redness or streaks
- Small or large blisters
- Crusting skin when blisters have burst
The trouble with poison ivy rash is that it can spread to other parts of your body that did not originally come in direct contact with the plant. However, it is a myth that you can get the rash from touching another person’s poison ivy rash. In most cases, a rash from poison ivy, oak or sumac will last 1 to 3 weeks and then go away on its own.
To get relief from this intense skin rash, a dermatologist can help. At Olansky Dermatology, we can recommend specific home remedies or over the counter topical treatments. However, if the rash doesn’t improve in a timely manner or if it is spreading to numerous parts of your body, you may need more aggressive treatments. In addition, symptoms of pain, swelling, pus or fever need to be addressed immediately.
If you need topical, oral or even systematic treatment for this common contact dermatitis condition, contact our experts at Olansky Dermatology Associates right away. We welcome the opportunity to help you keep your skin healthy and safe this summer!