Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac (cont.)

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Are there any home remedies for a poison ivy, oak, or sumac rash?

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As above, in the majority of cases, the symptoms can be controlled at home with the aforementioned medications/formulations until the rash resolves. Though different herbal folk remedies have been used in the past, no definite effective therapy can be recommended at this time.

What is the prognosis of a poison ivy, oak, or sumac rash?

In general, the prognosis is excellent. In the vast majority of cases, the rash will improve on its own within one to three weeks without any complications, and all that may be necessary is self-care at home with treatment to relieve the itching.

Is it possible to prevent a poison ivy, oak, or sumac rash?

There are measures that can be taken to help prevent the rash caused by exposure to these plants, including the following:

  • Learn to recognize these plants in order to avoid contact with them.
  • Wear protective clothing that covers your skin, including gloves, long sleeves, long pants, and boots if you are in a high-risk area.
  • If the possibility of contact with these plants exists, you can apply commercially available barrier creams to your skin, which may help prevent or lessen the exposure to the toxic plant oils. These products usually contain bentoquatam (IvyBlock) and should be applied before going outdoors.
  • Do not burn these plants, as this can release urushiol into the air.
  • Carefully remove these plants if they are growing near your home. Be sure to wear protective clothing and gloves.
  • Thoroughly wash clothing or any other objects that may have come into contact with these plants, as they can retain the plant oil and cause a rash if worn or touched.
  • If your pet has been exposed to these plants, wear protective gloves and give them a bath.

REFERENCES:

American Academy of Dermatology. "Poison ivy, oak, and sumac." <http://www.aad.org/dermatology-a-to-z/diseases-and-treatments/m---p/poison-ivy>.

Stephanides, Steven L. "Toxicodendron Poisoning." Medscape.com. June 3, 2013. <http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/817671-overview>.

United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Poisonous Plants." Feb. 24, 2012. <http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/plants/>.


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/20/2014

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