If summertime and also warmer weather makes you desire to ditch all her inhibitions and also head outdoors, safeguarded only by some shades and sunscreen, you're no alone. However if girlfriend live in certain areas in the US, you may want come prepare simply a small bit much more so girlfriend don't bring anything back with you—or in ~ least recognize what might happen if girlfriend don't

One hazard you can come across in her ventures outside is poison ivy. Around 85% of human being are allergic to the plant and also its oils, according to the American Skin Association, and also you have the right to be exposed come it throughout many typical summer activities: pulling weeds from your garden, acquisition your dog because that a to walk in a wooded area, etc.

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So, poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac all reason irritation to the skin with a tree oil—technically dubbed urushiol oil—found in the sap of these plants, according to the us Food & Drug management (FDA). Toxicity ivy especially is discovered throughout the US, except Alaska, Hawaii, and also other components of the West Coast, and also can grow in the form of a vine or a little shrub.

Though a rashes can happen when tree oil comes in direct contact with the skin, toxicity ivy rashes can likewise occur indirectly, if the tree oil comes into contact with clothes, pets, or gardening tools that then come into call with her skin. That urushiol oil deserve to stick around on any kind of surface it touches for rather a lengthy time—sometime also years, every the FDA—which is why it's important to to wash off from your body or anything else it comes into call with, Melissa Piliang, MD, a dermatologist at Cleveland Clinic, tells buzzpatterson.com. "You want to to wash all the exposed areas every little thing that may have come in call with it," she says. It's important to note, however, the poison ivy decision aren't contagious, for this reason they can't it is in passed from person to human or indigenous one component of your body to another by scratching.

Regarding the look at of poison ivy rash specifically, there are ways to distinguish them from various other skin conditions, Deirdre Hooper, MD, cofounder the Audubon skiership in new Orleans, tells buzzpatterson.com. There space three telltale signs, she says: The rash will certainly be an extremely itchy; it will blister, periodically with small white bumps; and also it might be in a direct formation.

Though they have the right to be annoying, painful and also itchy, the good news is poison ivy rashes deserve to be cure at home, for the many part. When you deserve to do every you deserve to to prevent poison ivy rashes—like knowing what the plant looks like, keeping yourself spanned in lengthy sleeves and also pants if you're working roughly it, and and washing anything that may have come into call with it—you might still come into contact with the plant.

According come the FDA, tree oil have the right to linger on any kind of surface—even skin—for a long time, therefore you want to wash it off ASAP v soap and cool water. The sooner you execute this, the better, per the FDA, due to the fact that the longer its on your skin, the higher chance the the plant oil deserve to spread to other parts the the body.

On the object of washing, you'll also want to extensively clean any type of clothing, tools, or also pets that likewise come into call with toxicity ivy, come prevent additional contamination.

Though you can't spread poison ivy rash to other parts the the body with itching (as lengthy as you've rinsed the tree oil from your skin), you have to still prevent scratching.

That's because, every the FDA, itching any blisters caused by a poison ivy decision can produce an opening for bacteria from her fingernails come seep right into your skin, causing additional infection.

Applying a cool compress come the influenced area or soaking in a cool bath can aid calm down any inflammation, every the FDA.

Another option, follow to Dr. Piliang, is to try an oatmeal bathtub (aka, blending some dry oats into a fine flour and adding it come a bathtub of warm water). You deserve to also shot putting a 4 minutes 1 of a cup that vinegar in a bathtub to relax your symptoms, Dr. Hooper adds. Vinegar deserve to act together an astringent to aid relieve pain and also itching native the rash, as can aluminum acetate, per the FDA.

You've absolutely heard of using calamine lotion because that itching before—according come the mei Clinic, that lotion, together with any other creams containing menthol, can assist relieve the itching and also discomfort associated with poison ivy rashes.

You recognize those medications you take when your allergies are acting up? Those—like Benadryl or Claritin—may also assist relieve the itch, states Dr. Piliang. But be careful here: You desire to avoid using any type of object antihistamine cream to the rash deserve to actually do it worse, according to the American Academy of skin science (AAD).

While girlfriend might be able to relieve your symptoms at home, specific scenarios need to prompt a expedition to the doctor's office. If her rash is little and limit to, say, her arm, you might have the ability to treat it v cortisone cream and also train yourself no to scrape it, yet if it's all over your body, you can want to check out a dermatologist who have the right to prescribe prescription cortisone, which can work better in dealing with your rash, Dr. Hooper says. She says that if you're for this reason itchy the you're scratching to the suggest you're worried around scarring—or you're breaking the skin, which can lead come infection—you shouldn't hesitate to watch a dermatologist.

If your vul are influenced by poison ivy—yes, the does happen—you must see a specialist, Dr. Piliang says, adding that this can occur if, once going to the bathroom in the woods, girlfriend accidentally usage a poison ivy leaf as toilet paper. When the rash can not put you in instant danger, the itchiness can be too much to bear. "Then you really need to go see ," Dr. Piliang says. "It's very itchy—maybe drive-you-nuts kind of itchy."

Lastly, you must see a physician if you think you've ingested or inhaled the urushiol oil. "If somebody burns the oil can become aerosolized and also you have the right to inhale it," Dr. Piliang says, explaining the this can reason swelling in the mouth. Girlfriend can additionally inadvertently inhale the oil by eat an apologize or berry picked external that had actually previously been in contact through the poison ivy plant. Any kind of swelling—not just swelling in the mouth—should most likely prompt a doctor's visit, every Dr. Hooper.

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She recommends see a dermatologist if friend can, because they're much better equipped to recognize and treat a poison ivy rash, which have the right to look prefer shingles to the untrained eye. Girlfriend don't necessarily even have come leave your house, she says, adding that, if you ever need to view a dermatologist quickly, you should try searching "tele-dermatology near me" for help.