Does Poison Ivy Go Away on Its Own?

Poison ivy raleigh north carolina is a toxic plant which is quite common throughout most parts of the United States. Depending on the region, the plant often grows low to the ground and can resemble a weed or shrub. It can also be in the form of a vine, growing along other plants, trees, or poles. Poison ivy has stems which contain three leaves which vary in color depending on the season. They may also produce berries or white flowers.


The most common symptom of poison ivy contact is a rash which is also called contact dermatitis. The rash can be less noticeable and mild or severe. It may appear immediately after contact or within a few days. The rash often causes the skin to become red and swollen. Small blisters may also appear and feel itchy or painful. Avoid itching the blisters as the bacteria below your fingernails can cause an infection.

Poison ivy contains the oil urushiol, which causes an allergic reaction for most people. The oil sticks to your skin when you come into contact with the plant. The following are common ways people get the oil on their skin:

  • Contact with a poison ivy plant
  • Contact with shoes or clothing which contain the oil
  • Touching equipment or tools which contain the oil
  • Contact with pet fur which came in contact with poison ivy
  • Inhaling or exposure to smoke from burning poison ivy

Avoiding Poison Ivy

In most cases, you can avoid coming in contact with poison ivy. Be aware of possible contact with the plant when you are outside. A popular and helpful saying is, “Leaves of three, let them be.” Some other suggestions for avoiding contact with poison ivy include:

  • Wear protective clothing when working outside. This may include long sleeves, pants, and gloves.
  • Wash clothing, outerwear and shoes after working outside.
  • Clean gloves, tools and equipment after each use.
  • Wash pets if they have made possible contact with the plant. Most pets are not allergic to poison ivy, but can spread it through their fur.

It is especially important to be diligent in avoiding contact with poison ivy if you have a severe allergy. While the poison ivy rash is not contagious, you can spread the oil from poison ivy through your skin or clothing.


Use soap and cool water to wash your skin immediately after you have possible contact with poison ivy. The oil can bond to your skin within a few minutes. Washing the skin can aid in removing the oil or preventing it from spreading. Some medicines which are available over-the-counter can help relieve the painful and itchy rash symptoms. These products include:

  • Hydrocortisone creams (i.e. Cortizone-10)
  • Calamine lotion
  • Antihistamine tablets (i.e. Benadryl)

A wet compress or oatmeal bath may also help to alleviate the symptoms.

In most cases, poison ivy will go away on its own in a few weeks. The blisters should begin to dry up and the rash should start to fade after a week. Some severe cases may last longer and have more pronounced symptoms.

Contact your doctor right away if any of the following conditions apply:

  • A fever over 100° F or 37.8° C
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Rash has reached your eyes, mouth, or genital area
  • Pus is coming out of the blisters
  • The rash covers a large portion of your body
  • Symptoms do not improve after a week

How Long Does Poison Ivy Last?