Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac: Part 1; Effects
Poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac pose a constant threat for anyone who ventures into wooded areas. These three plants contain an oily resin called urushiol, which can cause an irritating rash when it comes in contact with skin. The rash generally develops within 12-48 hours, depending on your sensitivity to the irritant and how much oil comes in contact with the skin. It can take several weeks for the rash to subside.
There are easy signs to look for when you believe that you may have come in contact with one of the three plants. If your skin becomes red, begins to itch and swell and begins to form blisters, you have likely come in contact with urushiol. The good news is that the rash is not contagious from person to person. However, the oil can be transferred to the skin from clothes or other objects that made contact with the plant.
Though it may take weeks for the rash to fully heal, it cannot spread on your skin. While it may appear at first as if it is spreading, this is due to the fact that some areas of the body take longer to react to the oil. Though scratching the rash will not spread it, it is recommended that you avoid doing so because the germs under your fingernails can lead to infections.
Check with Part 2 of the series to learn how to treat the rash.
If you need more serious help with skin issues or something else that is troubling your skin, we are here to help. Skin health is an important part of total body wellness. Schedule an appointment today with one of our board certified physicians to get your skin the care it needs so it can reach its fullest, healthiest potential.
Contact Knoxville Dermatology Group at 865.690.9467.