It starts with the itching. After that a rash develops and then the blisters. You’re having a reaction to poison ivy, oak or sumac and can last for hours or days after en encounter the plant’s oil or sap.
Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac
Poison Ivy grows all across the U.S.but not in Hawaii, Alaska and some areas on the west coast. It usually grows as a vine and the leaves have 3 shiny leaflets and either smooth or toothed edges. The color has red tint in the spring, green tint in the summer and yellowish in the fall. It can also have white colored berries.
Poison Oak grows as a shrub in the east part of the U.S.and as a vine in the western coastal part of the U.S., have fuzz-covered leaves that are toothed with round tips and many have white colored berries.
Poison Sumac is a tall shrub that is found in swamps across the Northeast, Midwest and Southeast parts of the U.S. and has leaves with bunches of 7 to 12 leaflets that are orange colored in the spring time, green during the summer months and a yellow color during the fall months and can also have white or yellow berries.
The rashes are not contagious but the plant oil can, if attached to some object, cause a rash if you come in contact with it. Also note that the oil of these plants can linger on an object for very long periods of time so it’s important to wash the surface well with soapy water or isopropyl alcohol. The rash doesn’t spread but exposure to an object with the oil of the plant on it will affect each part of the body that comes in contact so it’s important to find the source.
Prevention tips to avoid contact with poison ivy
Learn what the plant looks like and stay alert when out in the woods and unfamiliar areas when hiking, etc. This can be hard to do in thick vegetation so wear proper clothing to cover as much of the body as you can. Some creams may help. Wear non-absorbent gloves and long sleeves when working in the garden.
If you feel your skin has come in contact with the plant, wash the area with cool water and wash the clothes immediately so you won’t come into contact with the oil again. If you think it’s from your pet, do the same. Give your pet a bathe right away. Read below for remedies and get rid of poison ivy.
Remedies and natural treatment for poison ivy rash
- Resist itching since breaking the skin can lead to a bacterial infection.
- After taking a bath, rub a banana peel over the area with the rash to relieve pain
- Make a tea with burdock roots, apply to the rash and let it dry
- Blend a potato to a mashed up consistency and rub on the rash to relieve itching
- Add oatmeal, baking soda or Epsom salts to your bath water
- Rub some alcohol on the rash, rinse with water and then later on wash with warm water and soap
- Get the rash area wet and gently apply salt to relieve pain
- Apply a cup of water with about a quarter cup of bleach on the rash area
- Aloe vera juice on the rash will provide instant relief
We hope these remedies and natural treatments help relieve the itching and discomfort from coming into contact with poison ivy. In time, the rash should clear up. Read more about Contact Dermatitis at the U.S. National Library of Medicine.