What is Poison Ivy/Oak?
Poison ivy is notorious for the effects it has on those who come in contact with it. This poisonous plant contains an oily substance (called urushiol) that is known to cause a very itchy rash when it brushes against the skin. These plants often can be found in marshy or wooded areas all across the U.S. People (men, women, and children) who enjoy spending their time outdoors have likely experienced this issue before or could potentially face it in the future. There's no need to fear the outdoors, however, because this condition is easily treatable. Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Adean Kingston offers a number of treatment options for poison ivy rashes at her dermatology practice. Contact Adean Kingston, M.D., PLLC in Dallas, Texas to schedule a consultation and relieve your itchy rash today.
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Symptoms of Poison Ivy/Oak
The main symptom of poison ivy is red, discolored patches of skin that itch, as well as blistering or swelling in some cases. Rashes resulting from poison ivy contact can have bumpy, streaky, or linear patterns. Although your rash will itch, it is important to not scratch it. Scratching often causes the area to bleed, which could lead to an infection. The rash will erupt wherever contact was made with the oil substance (urushiol). Symptoms associated with poison ivy can disappear after a few weeks.
What causes Poison Ivy/oak?
Poison ivy rashes are caused by direct skin contact with the resin produced by poison ivy plants, urushiol. This sap irritates the skin and produces a red, itchy rash wherever the oil touches the skin. Urushiol can be found anywhere from the leaves to the flowers, stems, and roots of these plants. Because this condition causes incredible discomfort, it's important to be familiarized with the plant's appearance so you know to avoid it when enjoying your outdoor activities. Preventive measures (including wearing pants and long sleeves) can help lower your risk of a rash outbreak occurring.
Treatment for Poison Ivy/oak
One way to treat poison ivy is to immediately clean the affected area with rubbing alcohol or with warm water and either a degreasing soap such as Dawn liquid or with an actual bar of soap specifically formulated to remove the toxin off the skin. This is typically the most effective method within the first 20 – 30 minutes after you have touched the plant. For localized rash, Dr. Kingston often prescribes topical steroids and has patients take oral antihistamines like Benadryl and keep their skin cool. However, more extensive involvement of the skin often requires steroids administered through either an intramuscular injection or via a prescription for a course of oral steroid pills. Also, Dr. Kingston may prescribe an antibiotic if an infection has developed from excessive skin scratching. Adean Kingston, M.D., PLLC suggests that patients thoroughly wash their clothes, sheets, and towels to eliminate any remaining traces of urushiol and possibly even their pets such as dogs that have been outside and in contact with these plants to prevent the rash from further spreading.
EAse Symptoms today
Don't let your fear of developing a rash stop you from enjoying your favorite outdoor activities. Poison ivy outbreaks are easily treatable here at our Dallas, Texas office. Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Kingston will provide you with the treatment you need to soothe your skin. She can also give you the knowledge to better avoid poison ivy plants in the future. Schedule an appointment at Adean Kingston, M.D., PLLC to ease your symptoms and resume your normal life.