Knowing how to protect yourself from poison ivy, sumac and oak is a crucial step in ensuring you have a safe and happy summer. The leaves and stems of these plants are coated in an oil called Urushiol which causes skin irritation in as little as 12 hours of contact. While a mild rash will take about 12 days to clear, severe cases could take up to 20+ days to clear.
A mild rash, which is most common, is treated by simply controlling the itch. Here are some simple at-home treatment tips:
- Apply a cold, cool compress to the infected area
- Take an oatmeal bath
- Rub OTC or prescription antihistamine cream or lotion to the affected area
When to Seek Immediate Medical Care
Though rare, a severe rash will typically cover most of the body and cause extensive blisters, crusting skin, redness, and swelling to appear. If this occurs, a doctor can prescribe a topical or oral steroid to treat your reaction. Prednisone is a common steroid that will help reduce swelling and control the itching. The following symptoms indicate severe allergic reaction and require immediate medical care
- Difficultly breathing or swallowing
- Limited mobility
- Intense swelling in throat, mouth, tongue, or eyelids
- The rash covers most of your body and nothing seems to ease the itch.
For more information on rash treatment available at our urgent care center or for treatment and prevention tips from our experienced medical staff, give us a call at 860.986.6440.