Poison ivy is a plant that’s found on four different continents on our planet, and it’s the only cause of poison ivy rash. The poison ivy plant has a sap that contains an oil known as urushiol which is the primary irritant causing the allergic rash and reactions.
Touching or brushing against the plant or anything that has touched it can lead to pain, itching and cause irritation. This oil is very potent that you necessarily don’t have to come in direct contact before you have a reaction. The oil could linger on shoes, golf clubs, or even garden equipment.
Causes and Symptoms of Poison Ivy Rash
Whether or not you come in contact directly with the three-leafed plant, you’ll know it’s the poison ivy rash as soon as you notice intense itching sensation. The type of allergic reaction that happens to the human skin when you come in contact with an irritant such as urushiol is known as contact dermatitis.
It can result in thin red line as soon as you’ve brushed the edge of a poison ivy leaf directly and when you touch any surface where the oil is present, the rash can cover quite a large area.
Some symptoms that show you’ve come in contact with the poison ivy plant include; Itching, swelling, painful blisters, redness, and the rash might take a few days to develop fully.
Poison Ivy Treatment
While it’s possible to treat yourself at home after contacting the rash, without a prescription, you can have 3-4 weeks of persistent symptoms. Medical care should be sought if you notice you have trouble swallowing, shortness of breath, areas with rash are swelling, or the rash is on your genitals. Home remedies include:
Washing your clothes and skin as you come in contact with the plant. Although the rash cannot spread, the urushiol can spread so wash everything that you think might have come in contact with the oily substance.
To reduce the itching effect of the rash, you can take an over-the-counter antihistamine so you can sleep more comfortably. You can also apply a dry lotion such as hydrocortisone or calamine lotion topically to stop the itching.
Apply cool, wet compresses or take warm baths frequently to help relieve any itch and soothe your skin.
Whatever you do, do not scratch the rash as it will only make things worse. Although it might bring instant comfort, it’ll prolong the symptoms which might even lead to you developing an infection if the skin is broken.
If home treatments aren’t working, visit a Physicians Immediate Care clinic for evaluation, treatment. – and relief!