Poison plant rashes

poison ivy rashes - top Ballantyne dermatologist

Photo credit to aad.org

As we are deep into summer, your top Ballantyne dermatologist wants to offer tips for dealing with rashes as the result of exposure to poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac. The leaves of these plants contain an oil, which after contact with the skin, will develop an itchy, blistering rash on 85 percent of the population. The rash itself is not contagious, but the oil can be spread to other areas of the body, or to other people if it has not been washed off.

If you are certain that your rash is due to poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac, you may be able to treat the rash at home. However, if you have any questions about the source or causes of any rash, see your primary care physician or top Ballantyne dermatologist as soon as possible. If you have difficulty breathing or swallowing, or if you experience swelling accompanied with rashes or blisters, go to the emergency room right away.

If you are not experiencing a serious reaction, consider the following tips for treating the rash and easing the itch:

  • Rinse your skin with lukewarm, soapy water

Once you have determined the source of your rash, rinse your skin immediately, this will aid in the reduction of some of the oil. It will also help to prevent the oil spreading to other areas of the body.

  • Wash your clothing

Wash all of the clothes that you were wearing when you came into contact with the poisonous plant. The plant oils can stick to clothing, and if it touches yours or someone else’s skin, it can cause another rash.

  • Wash anything that may have the oil on its surface

Besides clothing, the oil from poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac can stick to many surfaces, such as car seats, golf clubs, pet leashes, and hiking gear. If you experienced contact while walking a pet, it is advisable that you rinse your pet’s fur, with warm, soapy water.

  • Avoid scratching the rash at all costs, as scratching can cause an infection.
  • Leave blisters alone

If blisters open, leave the overlying skin intact. This is the best way to protect the raw wound underneath, and to prevent infection.

  • Take short, lukewarm baths. 

Ease the itch by taking short, lukewarm baths in a colloidal oatmeal preparation. Another solution is to take a bath, adding one cup of baking soda to the running water. Short, cool showers are also helpful in soothing the itching.

  • Consider calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream

If your infection is mild, apply calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream or lotion.

  • Apply cool compresses to affected skin

Wetting a clean washcloth with cold water, and wringing it out so that it does not drip will create a cool compress to soothe itchy skin.

A rash from poison ivy, oak or sumac usually lasts one to three weeks. If your rash is not improving after seven to ten days, or if you suspect that your rash may be infected, visit a board-certified top Ballantyne dermatologist for treatment.

Two of the top Ballantyne dermatologist

Dr. Nixon is a board certified Charlotte dermatologist whose dedication, experience, and knowledge will provide the best possible treatment for your skin, hair, and reliable cosmetic dermatology concerns. Dermatology Specialists of Charlotte also offers medical, reliable cosmetic dermatology, and surgical dermatology; including removal of skin cancer. We provide a full range of cosmetic offerings such as skin tightening, fat reduction, chemical peels, Botox:registered: treatments, microdermabrasion, and more. We provide treatment for both adult and pediatric patients. Call our office today for a skin care evaluation and analysis of your sun damaged skin, or any other skin condition.


Rating: 9 out of 10 (from 85 votes)