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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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