Dr. Cole is board certified in dermatology. He obtained his BA degree in bacteriology, his MA degree in microbiology, and his MD at the University of California, Los Angeles. He trained in dermatology at the University of Oregon, where he completed his residency.
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
Myth #1: These plants are poisonous. Truth:
Poison ivy, poison oak, and
poison sumac are all members of
the Toxicodendron genus. All members of this group produce chemicals in their
plant juices to which most human beings are able to develop a brisk
response. The first time one comes into contact with these chemicals there is
generally no reaction but the immune system is stimulated to develop the
capacity to recognize the molecule the next time a contact occurs.
Myth #2: One must
come into direct contact with the plant to develop a rash. Truth: Generally
direct contact with plant juice is required. Occasionally reactions can occur if
this juice is transferred indirectly onto the skin of a sensitive individual (for example, from the fur of a pet or clothing that has been contaminated with
the plant oils). Sometimes blowing wind, especially soon after a brushfire, can
contain enough chemical to cause a
rash in very sensitive people.
Myth #3: The
appearance of the rash is characteristic for Toxicodendron dermatitis. Truth:
There is nothing specific about the appearance of the eruption. Any other plant
allergic contact dermatitis could potentially appear identical. The rash appears
as red, itchy bumps and small blisters often distributed in a linear fashion on
exposed surfaces. When the blisters rupture, there can be weeping and oozing.