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Poison Ivy Rash

Poison ivy is a toxic plant found in the United States and other parts of the world. Just like other toxic plants like poison sumac and poison oak, the poison ivy plant also secretes a toxic resin called urushiol. Any contact with this chemical produces an adverse reaction by the skin, leading to the formation of poison ivy rash.

Poison ivy rash is also known as allergic contact dermatitis. The condition can be very discomforting and distressing. However, the rashes do not result in any serious or life-threatening complications or consequences. Poison oak rash can be easily cured with self-care methods and use of anti-itch medicines to ease the itchiness.

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Symptoms of poison ivy rash

A signs and symptoms of poison ivy rash are given below:

  • Patients affected by poison ivy rash may experience intense and severe itchiness
  • The skin may also become reddish, predominantly in the area affected by the rash
  • The affected skin may also experience the development of blisters.
  • Poison ivy rash may cause swelling of the affected part of skin
  • The plant generally tends to brush against the skin in straight or curvy lines. Hence, the rashes also develop in a linear form. However, patients who come into contact with the toxin from contaminated tools, pets, clothing, etc. may experience more expansive and non-linear rashes
  • Severe cases of poison ivy rash may lead to formation of new rashes in other areas
  • When individuals affected by the rash scratch it to relieve the itchiness, then the germs present under the nails are likely to transfer to the blisters. This can then cause secondary infections of poison ivy rash, eventually resulting in oozing of pus from the blisters.
  • The development of poison ivy rash depends on the amount of urushiol exposure. Higher the contact, the greater is the severity of the rash. The rashes generally develop over a period ranging from 12 hours to 2 days.

Poison ivy rash can lead to infection of the sensitive areas of the body like the eyes, genitals, mouth, etc. Other complications of the condition include high fever, with body temperature that touch 100 degree F.

Causes of poison ivy rash

Poison ivy rash is caused due to contact with its chemicals. Hence, individuals must know about the varied aspects of the plant so that they can avoid it, thereby preventing rash development.

Poison ivy is a plant that is found throughout the United States, barring a few regions. It looks like a weed and typically grows as a bush, a plant, or a tree-climbing vine. Each stem generally consists of 3 leaflets. A few poison ivy plants may consists of leaves with saw-like, jagged edges, while other kinds may elicit smooth borders.The leaves change colors to yellow, red, or orange, with the change on seasons. Poison ivy bears small flowers, and green or off-white berries.

People develop poison ivy rash due to contact with a resin called urushiol released by the plant. Exposure to even small amounts of this toxin can result in an allergic reaction of the skin leading to the development of poison ivy rash. It may be noted that urushiol is an oily resin. Hence, it easily sticks to the skin and very hard to rub off. It can also easily stick to pet’s fur, and other items like clothes, tools, etc.

There are many ways in which people can come into contact urushiol toxin of poison ivy plants. They are listed below:

  • Direct contact with the plant, bush, shrub, or vine can result in transfer of the toxin. It can spread via exposure to the leaves, berries, stem, roots, etc. of the plant.
  • Indirect contact with different items such as clothes, tools, etc. For example, the shoes may come into contact with urushiol when walking through vegetation which consists of poison ivy plants. Individuals can then get exposed to the resin when handling the contaminated shoes.
  • Indirect transfer of urushiol when grooming your pet’s fur. It may be noted that animals are immune to the effects of urushiol and do not develop poison ivy rash. However, they can become active carriers of the toxin after contact with the plant. It can then transfer to the pet owners during play or grooming sessions.

Poison ivy rash is not contagious. It cannot transfer from an affected patient to another. It can only be caused due to contact with the urushiol toxin of poison ivy plants.

Treatment of poison ivy rash

Poison ivy rashes can be easily treated with self-care methods and anti-itch medications. It is however recommended to take precautionary steps to avoid contact with the plant and thus prevent the onset of the rash.

One can prevent exposure to poison ivy by covering all parts of the body while working/playing in the outdoors; particularly in those areas which are known to have poison ivy growths.

Poison Ivy Rash Pictures

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