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Skin Rashes: Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac

Oct 23, 2013

If you love the great outdoors, you likely know that certain plants don’t love your skin back. Poison ivy, oak, and sumac are three different plants that all cause similar skin reactions. In many people, the symptoms will clear up on their own, but in some cases, it is necessary to seek care from your dermatologist. Here is what you need to know about these poisonous plants.

What Makes These Plants Trigger Skin Reactions?

Poison ivy, oak, and sumac all contain an oil called urushiol. It is found in all parts of the plant, from the leaves and berries to the stems and root. Touching any part of the plant will transfer urushiol to your skin, which may set off an allergic reaction. In the case of a fire, particles of these plants may be flying around in the air. If you inhale them, you could experience an allergic reaction. If your pets have brushed up against any of these plants, you may expose your skin to urushiol after petting them.

What Are the Symptoms of a Poison Ivy, Oak, or Sumac Reaction?

Exposure to these plants often causes a rash. The rash is usually red and extremely itchy. You may also experience hives and have small, fluid-filled blisters that seep. The rash can appear up to 15 days after exposure to the plant. The rash is not contagious. In some cases, it may seem that your rash is spreading. However, it is more likely that you have just touched something that still has urushiol on it or that your rash is still developing from the initial exposure.

When Should I See My Dermatologist?

The severity of your symptoms will depend on how much urushiol you came into contact with and how sensitive you are to it. You should call your dermatologist if you experience swelling in your face, mouth, neck, eyelids, or genitals. You should also contact your dermatologist if you have large, oozing blisters.

If you have questions about this or any skin condition, call Arlington Dermatology. Our experts are here to help you with your acne, rosacea, and much more. Call [company-phone id=1] to find out more or to schedule a consultation.

Caution: Poison Ivy sign