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Poison Ivy, Oak or Sumac

The rash from poison ivy, oak or sumac is generally mild and can be treated at home. Home treatment for the rash usually helps relieve symptoms . If you know you had contact with one of the plants, immediately wash areas of the skin that may have touched the plant with soap and water. Sometimes the rash can be completely avoided by washing the affected areas within 10 or 15 minutes of contact. Most of the oil is absorbed into the skin in the first 30 minutes so time is of the essence.
Clothing should also be washed right away. Contaminated surfaces should be cleaned with rubbing alcohol. To relieve itching and help blisters dry out, apply wet compresses or soak the area in cool water. Antihistamine pills or calamine lotion may help relieve symptoms. To prevent infection, try not to scratch the rash. Also, cut your fingernails to minimize the possibility of opening the skin and spreading bacteria. Wear light color clothing to stay cool.


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