Rash caused by poison ivy

Rash Caused By Poison Ivy

Rashes from poison ivy, oak, or sumac are caused by an oil in these plants called urushiol. Contact with the oil, for example when someone brushes against the plants, can cause a skin rash or other symptoms.

Symptoms of Contact Dermatitis from Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac:

  • Itching and burning sensations, swelling, and redness
  • Development of raised patches or blisters containing pus
  • Rashes or blisters in a pattern or line across the skin where exposed
  • Intense itching followed by redness, swelling and pain after a 4 to 48-hour delay

Rashes caused by contact with these plants can take up to two weeks to heal, and can last anywhere from four to 12 weeks. Over-the-counter medications, like calamine lotion, hydrocortisone cream, or an oral antihistamine can help improve symptoms. Avoid scratching the rash, as this can lead to infection. If the rash is severe or widespread, a healthcare provider may prescribe a stronger medication or topical corticosteroid.