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Poison Ivy, Poison Oak & Poison Sumac

What are poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac?

Poison ivy, oak, and sumac are three types of plants that can cause a skin reaction called contact dermatitis when they touch your skin. The reaction results from contact with an oily substance product by these plants. The red, itchy rash often appears in lines or streaks and can include fluid-filled blisters or large raised areas (hives).

What are the symptoms of poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac?

The typical symptoms include a skin rash with the following signs:

  • Bright red spots that develop 24 to 48 hours after contact
  • Weeping, crusting and swelling
  • Intense itching and burning
  • Blisters
  • Enough of the oily resin remains on hands or clothing so that the rash is carried to other body parts, such as the face

Neither the rash nor the fluids from the blisters are contagious once the skin has been washed with soap and water; a person can only get poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac through direct contact with the plant or oil from the plant left on clothing, equipment or pets.

What is the treatment for poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac?

Washing the skin immediately after contact with the plant can prevent a rash from developing.

Sweating and heat make the itching worse, so try to stay cool. To relieve symptoms, use cool, wet compresses and take cool baths. Over the counter antihistamines and calamine lotions may also help relieve symptoms.

For moderate or severe symptoms, visit Healthcare Clinic at select Walgreens to have the rash examined, and for possible prescription of corticosteroid pills, creams, or ointments.*

This treatment is available at Healthcare Clinic locations for patients 18 months and older.

Walk in or schedule an appointment at the Healthcare Clinic nearest you.

If you believe you have a medical emergency,  please call 911.

1 Prescriptions written when clinically appropriate. Patients have a choice of pharmacy.

2 Service is available at Healthcare Clinic locations for patients 18 months and older.

* Patient care services provided by Take Care Health Services, an independently owned professional corporation whose licensed healthcare professionals are not employed by or agents of Walgreen Co. or its subsidiaries, including Take Care Health Systems, LLC.