How Long Does Poison Ivy Rash Last?

Warmer temperatures often mean spending more time outside. As a result, we have more chances to come into contact with poisonous plants such as poison ivy which is the most common causes for an allergic contact dermatitis.

Poison ivy wake forest north carolina is a plant which contains an irritating, oily sap called urushiol. Urushiol triggers an allergic reaction when it makes contact with the skin. This contact results in an itchy rash which typically appears within a few hours or a few days of the exposure. It is possible for someone to be exposed to urushiol directly or through contact with an infected object such as tools, equipment, or even a pet.

Urushiol is found in all parts of the plant which includes the leaves, stems, and root. The plant contains urushiol even once it is dead. Urushiol is quickly absorbed into the skin and can also be inhaled when poisonous plants are burned. In addition to the skin, the smoke can expose the nasal passages, throat, and lungs to the chemical. When urushiol is inhaled, it can cause a severe allergic reaction. It is easy for urushiol to transfer from one object to another. Clothing, tools or pets that come in contact with the plan can easily pick up the oil and pass it to the skin.

The rash which occurs as a result from the poisonous plant is a form of allergic contact dermatitis. Dermatitis is defined as the swelling and irritation of the skin. The skin is not naturally sensitive to urushiol, however, sensitivity builds up once the skin is exposed to the substance. When the skin is initially exposed to urushiol, it notifies the immune system of the presence of the irritating chemical. A visible reaction does not typically occur the first time someone is in contact with a poisonous plant. The immune system prepares a defensive reaction for subsequent encounters with the harmful substance. This makes the skin increasingly sensitive and means the future contact with urushiol will cause an allergic reaction.

Poison ivy is found in most areas throughout the United States, with exception to Alaska, Hawaii, and the desert areas of the Southwest. In some areas of the country such as the East, Midwest, and South, poison ivy grows in the form of a vine. In the Northern and Western parts of the United States, and near the Great Lakes, it grows in the form of a shrub. A poison ivy leaf contains three smaller leaflets.

Symptoms of Poison Ivy Contact

Contact with the chemical urushiol typically occurs in three phases which include the following:

  • Phase 1: The skin becomes red and itchy.
  • Phase 2: An eruption of a rash on the skin. This often appears in a pattern of streaks or patches where the plant had contact with the skin.
  • Phase 3: The rash turns into red bumps which are called papules. In some cases, the rash causes large, oozing blisters.

Poison Ivy Rashes

Most rashes caused by poison ivy are mild and typically last about 5 to 12 days. In more severe cases, the rash can last up to 30 days or more.

Symptoms and Causes of Poison Ivy