What are poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac?
Poison ivy, oak, and sumac are three types of plants that can cause a skin reaction called
contact dermatitis when they touch your skin. The reaction results from contact with an oily
substance product by these plants. The red, itchy rash often appears
in lines or streaks and can include fluid-filled blisters or large raised areas
What are the symptoms of poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac?
The typical symptoms include a skin rash with the following signs:
- Bright red spots that develop 24 to 48 hours after contact
- Weeping, crusting and swelling
- Intense itching and burning
- Enough of the oily resin remains on hands or clothing so that the rash is carried to other body parts, such as the face
Neither the rash, nor the fluids from the blisters, are contagious; a person can
only get poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac through direct contact with the plant or oil
from the plant left on clothing, equipment or pets.
Skin Rashes, Skin Irritations, Poison Ivy and Heat Rash
What is the treatment for poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac?
Washing the skin immediately after contact with the plant can prevent a rash from
Sweating and heat make the itching worse, so try to stay cool. To relieve symptoms, use cool, wet
compresses and take cool baths. Over the counter antihistamines and calamine lotions may also help relieve
If your symptoms are moderate or severe, visit a Take Care Health Provider, who
will examine the rash, and may prescribe corticosteroid pills, creams, or ointments.
If you believe you have a medical emergency, please call 911.