Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, Poison Sumac Prevention (cont.)
The rash will only occur where urushiol has touched the skin; it doesn't spread throughout the body. However, the rash may seem to spread if it appears over time instead of all at once. This is either because the urushiol is absorbed at different rates in different parts of the body or because of repeated exposure to contaminated objects or urushiol trapped under the fingernails.
The rash, blisters and itch normally disappear in 14 to 20 days without any treatment. But few can handle the itch without some relief. For mild cases, wet compresses or soaking in cool water may be effective. Oral antihistamines can also relieve itching.
There are a number of OTC products to help dry up the oozing blisters, including:
How to identify poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac
Unfortunately, poison ivy, oak and sumac don't grow with little picture ID badges around their stems, so you have to know what to look for. To avoid these plants and their itchy consequences, here's what to look for.
Source: Food and Drug Administration
Last Editorial Review: 7/18/2006