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4 Things to Do After Contacting Poison Oak or Poison Ivy

Everything is packed and ready to go for your big weekend camping trip. Trails are picked to hike, and chairs are packed for around your nightly campfire. Next thing you know, you wake up itchier than the day before and notice a rash forming. You then realize you have encountered the dreaded poison oak or poison ivy. The dermatologists at Dermatology & Mohs Surgery Institute can help you with your next steps to stop the spread and prevent the pain.


How to Identify and Treat Poison Ivy

What to Know About Poison Oak and Poison Ivy

Nature is a natural mood enhancer and should be experienced as much as possible. Knowing what to be wary of as you experience nature is important. Keeping an eye out for poisonous plants can help you avoid a trip of ruined plans.

Poison oak and poison ivy are common poisonous plants that when touched, causes an allergic reaction that results in an itchy rash. To avoid this from occurring you need to know what to avoid when outside hiking or are near potentially poisonous plants.

Poison ivy is best identified by its leaves. It grows as a shrub or vine and has three leaves. Poison oak also has three leaves, but rounded tips and the underside is fuzzy and lighter than the green on the top of the leaf. The best way to avoid both poison ivy and poison oak is to not touch any three-leave plants. Sometimes it can be unavoidable though, so if you do come down with a case, there are steps you can take to lessen the itch.


What to Do After Contacting Poison Ivy or Poison Oak

The first sign you have contacted poison ivy or poison oak is the rash that will appear. Blisters, redness and swelling may also occur. Once you realize you have poison ivy or poison oak, make sure to wash your hands with soap and water and wash the clothes you were wearing. Then you want to get an anti-itch cream, such as calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream. This will help you manage the itchiness that at times may feel unbearable.

Next, you will want to take an antihistamine such as Benadryl. This will help to keep swelling at bay and provide itching relief. Lastly, cold compresses or an oatmeal bath can provide relief as well. The cooling sensation and the oatmeal both provide itching relief.

Poison ivy and poison oak are both contagious if others touch the affected areas. You cannot spread it to other parts of your body but if you notice new rashes, it is just the rash appearing in another place that touched the poison ivy or poison oak.

Our Dermatologists Can Help

Knowing what poison oak and poison ivy look like is the first step in preventing you from getting it. If you do come down with it the dermatologists at Dermatology & Mohs Surgery Institute are here to talk through how to soothe your pain. If you are in Bloomington, Illinois or the surrounding areas, complete this form to get in touch with us and we will help provide you some relief.

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