2012 July

How to Treat Poisonous Plant Rashes

Bug bites and poisonous plants. Of course, we choose to write about possibly the only two negatives when it comes to summer. But hey, there’s nothing worse than not being able to go out in your bathing suit because you’re covered in a gross rash! If you do happen to come in contact with one of the plants mentioned below, you’ll be happy that you can visit Eastside Dermatology’s blog to read about how to get better fast.

Poison ivy, oak, and sumac are plants that result in rash when the oils of the plant come in contact with the skin. The rash can show up as streaks or lines that may have blisters or raised up areas like hives.

The rash is actually an allergic reaction to the oil in the plant, and for that reason, the oil does not cause a rash in everyone who comes in contact with it. The rash can occur anywhere from a few hours to 2 weeks after contact with the plant. Poison ivy is not contagious. You can’t spread or catch the rash once it appears, but the rash can appear at different times on different parts of the body.

The more of the oil that contacts the skin the worse the reaction will be. Without any treatment, the rash can last anywhere from 10 days to 3 weeks. Sometimes, the rash can last for up to 6 weeks in people who are highly allergic.

Mild cases can be treated with wet compresses when the blisters are present and over the counter antihistamines for itching and Calamine lotion may be helpful as well. Moderate to severe cases, however, may need treatment with prescription steroid creams, pills, or shots.

Identification of the plant is the best way to avoid exposure. The phrase “leaves of 3, let it be” is an easy way to remember what the plant looks like, and what you should stay away from. If you know you have been in contact with the plant, you have about 15-20 minutes to wash the oil off and prevent the reaction.

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How to Avoid and/or Treat Those Pesky Summer Insect Bites

When thinking of summer, most people think happy thoughts. Warm weather, BBQs, time by the pool… But summer is also the season for insect bites. All insect bites are allergic reactions to the saliva of the biting insect. Not exactly something most people want to be thinking about when they are drinking their ice-cold lemonade by the pool (while wearing sunscreen and a hat, of course). In order for you to spend as little time as possible thinking about these pesky insects and more time enjoying the nice weather, we have put together a list of some of the most common bites and how to avoid and/or treat them.

Mosquito Bites: Mosquito bites are the most common type of summer insect bite. Mosquitos breed in areas of standing water and usually are most prevalent in the hours from dusk to dawn. Prevention includes wearing long sleeves, long pants, and socks, and of course using insect repellant. Remember that mosquitos can bite through clothing so use of insect repellants is a very important preventative step… Plus, who wants to wear long sleeves and long pants in 100 degree weather? Insect repellants should contain either DEET, picardin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus.

Bee Stings: Bee stings can cause immediate pain, swelling, and itching at the site of the sting. People that are very allergic to bee stings can also develop severe reactions and go into anaphylactic shock. Symptoms of this cause swelling of the lips, tongue, mouth and airways, which can cause difficulty breathing and result in shock and even death if it goes untreated. If you know that you are allergic to bee stings, your doctor should give you a prescription for an Epi (epinephrine) pen, which can be injected immediately after the sting to prevent the severe allergic reaction.

Ticks: Ticks are most common in wooded areas and around tall grass. If you are going to be in susceptible areas it is recommended to wear long sleeves, long pants, and socks of a lighter color so that you can see if the tick attaches to clothing. Ticks are very small in size but once they attach to the skin, they can grow to be the size of a pencil eraser, or bigger. Ticks should be removed gently with tweezers. Tick bites can result in Lyme disease. Symptoms of Lyme disease can include a rash that’s often bull’s-eye shaped and slowly enlarges. If untreated, Lyme disease can cause joint pains and heart problems.

Minor insect bites can be treated with over the counter products such as 1% Hydrocortisone cream, Sarna lotion, or Calamine lotion. For severe itching, oral Benadryl may be taken. If these symptoms don’t resolve than you may need a prescription cortisone cream.

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Our Locations

Two convenient locations to better serve you:

150 Taylor Station Rd. Suite 250
Ohio 43213

4617 Leap Ct.,
Ohio 43026

Our Promise

At Eastside Dermatology, Dr. Alan Parks and his entire team are dedicated to providing the highest quality cosmetic and surgical skin care for their Columbus and Hilliard, Ohio-area patients.

Eastside Dermatology & Skin Care Center is associated with the DocShop patient education network. is an informational resource for patients considering dermatology treatments.

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