What is Poison Ivy Rash?
Scientifically known as toxicodendron radicans is a poisonous plant found in North America. It produces urushiol, the compound responsible for the itching rash that a person acquires from the mere touch of poison ivy. This plant is found in 3 forms: a trailing vine, a shrub, and a vine that grows on trees. We usually see this plant in forests and open fields. People are still victimized by this plant and it’s because they couldn’t identify what a poison ivy looks like.
Here are the following distinct characteristics of poison ivy:
- They form in clusters of three leaflets
- Alternate leaf arrangement
- Lack of thorns
- Three leaflets grow with its own stalk
This wild plant is truly common that can cause an irritating allergic reaction. The urushiol is a toxic chemical with a mere small amount of exposure to a person can cause contact dermatitis- a rash that spreads all over the skin. This resin content can be transmitted by the fingers or animal fur and can remain dormant for months on clothing, shoes, and tools. Inhaling smoke from a burned poison ivy has a possibility of irritating a person’s eyes or nasal passages. But take note, poison ivy rash isn’t contagious. The fluid containing blister doesn’t contain urushiol and shall not spread the rash to another person.
Poison Ivy Rash Symptoms
The reaction from exposure and contact with poison ivy can either be irritant contact dermatitis or allergic contact dermatitis. The common signs and symptoms of poison ivy rash include:
- Red bumps that form a straight line or streaks, where the plant had contact with the skin
- Blisters and vesicles filled with fluid
The rash usually starts one or two days after contact, which may also take up to days. As the symptoms appear, they may continue to linger for many days up to 2 to 3 weeks due to the delay reaction from urushiols. This may also depend on the amount of the urushiols that a person has made contact with. Fortunately, the spreading of the rashes is not possible for it can only affect the local part inflicted with the resin urushiol.
Inhalation from the smoke from a burnt poison are rare instances but if it takes place: the eyes, airway, and lungs are affected. Complication shall arise when a person scratches the poison ivy rash with dirty nails. The condition may develop to secondary bacterial infection which will lead to blisters with pus drainage.
One should seek medical advice when the reaction has become severe and is widespread. If the rash affects sensitive areas of the body, seeing the doctor is needed. Development of oozing pus from blisters, high-grade fever, and a rash that takes more than weeks needs to be evaluated by a doctor.
Poison Ivy Rash Treatment
Education is truly important in order to avoid the distress of poison ivy rash. Prevention from poison ivy rash can be attained if one knows the source. Here are some facts that one should be aware of:
Identification of poison ivy
Know the appearance and the areas where we can find the wild plant.
When one is for a camping trip, due for hiking or activities outdoors, he or she should take precautions of the area. See to it that the area is free from wild plants that may be poison ivy.
Get rid of poison ivy
Some suburban homes may have wild plants that keep growing in the yard and may include poison ivy. Removal with the use of an herbicide is useful but should be done cautiously with heavy gloving and proper protection gears. Do not burn the plant for the possibility of emitting poisonous air.
Clean contaminated things
Since there is a possibility that your pet or some things may have gotten the resin urushiol, cleaning them is a must. Washing the clothing with detergent is necessary to avoid getting the resin. Bathe pets which are suspected to have made contact with the wild plant.
Wash skin with soap and water
Wash off the resin from skin with the use of soap as one got exposed to it. This can reduce the severity of the reaction but does not eliminate the possibility of a reaction.
Application of an over-the-counter barrier skin cream that contains bentoquatam (Ivy Block) is very useful. The component bentoquatam absorbs urushiol and prevents severe skin reaction.
As the condition has evolved to widespread rashes and large number of blisters, the doctor shall prescribe oral corticosteroids. As bacterial infection has developed at the site, oral antibiotics are recommended.
The reaction from the poison ivy would usually develop 12 to 48 hours after exposure and can last up to 8 weeks. This usually depends on the amount of the urushiol content exposed to a person. In severe cases, the rashes may flare up several days after exposure that may seem to be spreading.
Is a poison ivy rash contagious?
The poison ivy rash is not contagious itself. But inanimate objects such as the clothing, shoes, tools and even pets can house the resin urushiol and transmit them to a person.
Relief from the rashes is the main aim for the treatment course. Home remedies are quite useful in the treating the rashes when the outbursts are not that severe:
- Corticosteroid creams are applied on the site 2 to 4 times a day
- Application of calamine lotion relieves the itchiness
- Oral antihistamine helps reduce itchiness and can facilitate rest
- Use of baking soda in a cool tub soak can relieve itchiness and the discomfort
- Compression of a wet cloth over the affected site promotes relief
- Oatmeal baths are said to promote relief from the discomfort
Some are proposed alternative medicines to control the symptoms of poison ivy rash:
- Bovine cartilage cream – has been found quite effective in clearing the poison ivy rash
- Deodorant – spraying a deodorant that contains aluminum chlorohydrate facilitates prevention of irritating the skin.
Poison Ivy Rash Pictures
Photos, Images and Pictures of Poison Ivy Rash…