What Dries Poison Ivy?
It starts with an itching sensation, followed by a red rash, and lastly there are the blisters. These are all symptoms of wake forest poison ivy. These uncomfortable symptoms can occur immediately or after a few days of exposure to poison ivy. Urushiol oil is present in the sap of poison ivy which causes the skin’s reaction. Below are a few tips on how to avoid poison ivy.
Other than Alaska, Hawaii and portions of the West Coast, poison ivy is found throughout the United States. The plant can grow as a vine or as a small shrub on the ground or climbing on low plants, trees and poles. Each leaf contains three small leaflets, which have smooth or toothed edges. The leaves change color with the seasons and are red in the spring, green in summer, and yellow, orange, or red in the fall.
Poison ivy cannot spread from person to person. It is possible, however, to come in contact with the rash from plant oil from clothing, pets, tools, and any other item which came in contact with the plant. The plant oil can remain on virtually any surface until it is cleaned off using soap and water.
The rash is only present where the plant oil touches the skin. A person with poison ivy is not able to spread it through scratching. It may seem like the rash is spreading if it appears over time rather than all at once. This occurs because the plant oil is absorbed at a different rate on different areas of the body or from repeated exposure or when the plant oil is trapped below the fingernails. Even if the blisters pop, the fluid within the blisters does not contain plant oil and is not capable of spreading the rash.
Prevention of poison ivy:
- Be familiar with what poison ivy looks like and avoid it
- Wash your gardening tools, gloves and outdoor equipment regularly. Cover your skin by wearing long sleeves, pants, boots and gloves if you may be working near poison ivy.
- Give pets a bath if they had potential contact with poison ivy. Most pets are not sensitive to poison ivy, but their fur can carry the oil.
- Use soap and cool water to clean your skin immediately after contacting poison ivy. Early cleaning aids in removing the oil to prevent additional spread.
Work to avoid scratching the blisters as the bacteria below your fingernails can cause an infection. The rash, blisters, and itch will typically disappear within a few weeks without treatment. Below are ways to help relieve some of the itching:
- Use a wet compress or soak the skin in cold water
- Apply an over-the-counter topical corticosteroid or obtain a prescription oral corticosteroids from your doctor
- Apply a topical skin protectants, such as zinc acetate, zinc carbonate, zinc oxide, and calamine. These ointments will help dry the poison ivy rash. Baking soda or an oatmeal bath can also help relieve the irritation and itching.
- Aluminum acetate is an astringent which can help relieve the rash
Schedule appointment with your doctor if any of the following apply:
- A temperature over 100°F
- The rash contains pus, soft yellow scabs, or is tender
- Symptoms do not improve or worsen after a week
- Rash spreads to eyes, mouth, genital area, or covers more than 25% of your body
- Difficulty breathing