Poison ivy, sumac and oak are plants that you should try to avoid this summer. These plants cause serious skin irritations which can be serious if not taken care of properly. The rash is caused by an oil found in the plant called Urushiol. The skin rash appears within 12 to 72 hours after you come into contact with the oil. A mild rash will take about 12 days to clear; a severe case could take up to 20+ days to clear.
A mild rash, which is most common, is treated by simply controlling the itch. You can do this by;
- Applying a cold, cool compress to the infected area
- Taking an oatmeal bath
- Rubbing Calamine lotion on the infected area
A severe rash will typically cover most of the body and cause extensive blisters to appear. If this occurs, you should; call your doctor who may prescribe a topical or oral steroid. Prednisone is a common steroid given that will help reduce swelling and control the itching. If you have trouble breathing or swallowing then you should go to the emergency room right away – this may be a bigger issue such as an allergic reaction to the oil.