Poison Ivy

POISON IVY rashes

Last Updated February 21st, 2019

Overview

Plants contain a wide variety of chemical substances. Some, such as dyes and oils are beneficial and even offer nutritional and therapeutic value. Others can be toxic to humans, producing adverse reactions ranging from mild rashes to severe neurological symptoms. Most people have, at some time in their lives, developed itching and rashes from touching certain plants. A plant called Toxicodendron radicans, better known by its common name ‘poison ivy’, is particularly notorious for producing itchy skin rashes. A poison ivy rash usually clears up completely within a week or a fortnight even without treatment. It does not leave any lasting adverse effects.

 

Definition

POISON IVY skin Poison ivy rash is a case of allergic contact dermatitis.

This is defined as an allergic reaction in the skin triggered by contact with certain toxic substances. The toxin, in this case, is a substance called urushiol which is a constituent of the sap of members of the genus Toxicodendron.

This includes the poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. Similar allergenic oils are found in plants such as mangoes, cashews, and the lacquer tree.

Those who have come into contact with the sap of the poison ivy or other related plants will typically develop a red, streaked rash with painful blisters on the skin. If the oil comes into contact with other parts of the body such as the eyes or the genitals, there can be irritation in those areas as well. The rash remains superficial and does not spread beyond the skin. Not everyone is allergic to urushiol. Between 15-30% of people are resistant to this allergy.

 

Causes

Contrary to popular belief, one cannot get an allergy merely by touching the plant itself. It is the sap of the plant that contains the allergen. This seeps out when the plant is bruised or bitten through by insects. If the sap is present on the surface of the plant, then touching it can trigger an allergy. Even a small amount of urushiol is sufficient. Dead plants are also capable of causing allergy since they continue to retain urushiol. It is a common misconception that fluid from the blisters can transfer the allergy from one person to another. The rash itself is not contagious. However, if one person transfers the oil to the skin of the other by contact, then the second person can also develop the allergy.

Typically the allergy occurs as a result of:

  • Direct contact with the plant.
  • Touching other objects that have been in contact with the plant, such as clothing or gardening tools.
  • Smoke from a burning plant can cause rashes and swelling in any area of skin that it comes into contact with. Inhaling it can produce irritation in the respiratory passages and even the lungs.
  • Some people develop an allergy from touching objects treated with lacquer. Lacquer is traditionally made from sap from the lacquer tree and this contains urushiol that remains active.

 

Symptoms

POISON IVY cautionThe first time a person is exposed to urushiol, it might take a few days or a week for the rash to appear. On subsequent exposure, it is observed that the allergy tends to break out sooner, typically within 12 to 48 hours following contact. However, different individuals react differently and the severity of the allergy depends on the person’s degree of sensitivity which can change over the course of a lifetime. Signs of poison ivy allergy include:

  • Red, irritated rashes on the skin.
  • Blisters and hives.
  • Itching.
  • Swelling.
  • Formation of a crust on the skin when the blister begins to heal.
  • Irritation in the eyes.
  • Irritation in the nasal passages, throat, and lungs.

 

Clinical complications

A poison ivy skin rash can sometimes leave behind scars but is not known to produce any serious concerns. However, scratching the rash will rupture the skin and this can lead to bacterial infection. If the oil comes into contact with more sensitive areas such as the eyes or the genital mucous membranes, it can be extremely uncomfortable and painful. Similarly, irritation of the lungs and throat upon inhalation of smoke containing urushiol tends to be more severe than dermatitis.

 

Diagnosis

A poison ivy rash is easy to identify by its typical appearance including streaks and oozing blisters. Doctors do not usually order laboratory tests.

 

Treatment and prevention

POISON IVY rashes Treatment 

  • Generally, poison ivy rashes tend to go away on their own within 3-4 weeks.
  • In case the rash is severe due to multiple blisters, doctors may prescribe corticosteroids.
  • If an infection has developed along with the rash, oral antibiotics will be prescribed.

Prevention 

  • Learn about the plant and be careful so to not expose yourself to it.
  • Wash your body immediately, if you have been contaminated by the plant.
  • Wear protective clothing, in case you go out for a trek or hiking in areas where poison ivy might grow.

Facts

  • This plant can be found in North America, Japan, Taiwan, Japan, and Russia.
  • It cannot survive in altitude higher than 4900 ft. It can survive extreme climatic conditions.
  • 85% of the people who come in contact with this plant tend to develop an allergic reaction.
  • The plant should never be burnt as the fumes can a severe allergic reaction in the lungs.

Facts

  • This plant can grow in the form of bushes or vines. Bushes are 3 ft and 11 inc. tall, while the vines are 3.9-9.8 inc. in height.
  • Poison ivy can survive up to 2 years.

Facts

  • Mango trees produce the same oil that is produced by the poison ivy plant. Coming in contact with a mango tree bark can also result in mild rashes.

Related Conditions

Want to live a healthy lifestyle?

Subscribe to free FactDr newsletters.

REVAMP YOUR

If you're enjoying our website, we promise you'll absolutely love our new posts. Be the first one to get a copy!

Get factually correct, actionable tips delivered straight to your inbox once a week.

I want the latest scoop on :

We hate spam too. We will never share your email address with anyone. If you change your mind later, you can unsubscribe with just one click

By clicking Subscribe, I agree to the FactDr Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of FactDr subscriptions at any time.

 

Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • Keep your clothes aside in a separate hamper to be washed with hot water. This helps in making sure that the plant’s oil does not contaminate other clothes.
  • Use calamine lotion, this helps in easing the burning and itching due to the allergic rash.
  • Make sure that you wash the affected area thoroughly, to get rid of the urushiol oil.

Don'ts
  • Scratch or pick on the blisters. This can spread the rash.
  • Self-medicate if you have a rash in your nose or in your eyes; visit the doctor immediately.
  • Restrict yourself to oral medication only. Use topical medications as they can treat the rash faster.

 

 

 

Related Conditions

Trending Topics

anal sex
Anal Sex : Tips from experts on how to be kinky yet safe Whether it irks you or stokes your fantasies, anal sex has always been an intriguing sexual act. Learn…
Female Masturbation: Tips on how to turn up the heat during a solo mission As a female, do you find yourself constantly wondering as to what is the best way to please…
Clitoris: Why is it called the gateway to toe-curling female orgasms? The word clitoris comes from the Greek word kleitoris or “little hill.”  Many compare the female clitoris to…
Find the G spot: The top sex positions that guarantee an orgasm There has been a long debate as to whether the G-spot actually exists as a separate organ.  Can…
diverticulitis diet
Diverticulitis diet: The right way to eat if you suffer from the disease Are you suffering from diverticultis but clueless about your diet ? Read this complete plan for diverticulitis diet…
Penis pump: Pump your way out of erectile dysfunction One of the options to treat erectile dysfunction is by the use of a penis pump. It is…
passion fruit juice
Passion fruit: How one exotic fruit can help you fight infections and cancer! Passion fruit: Why does this exotic fruit have such an enticing name? And how can it protect you…
Maltitol: Things you must know about this artificial sweetener Sugar alcohols are produced by fruits and vegetables. Maltitol is an artificially produced sugar alcohol and is used…
Tamarind: The top health benefits of this staple Asian ingredient Did you know this sweet and sour pulpy fruit does more than just add a tangy flavor to…
The real reason why you shouldn’t be eating ramen noodles Instant ramen noodles might be your go-to snack for your hunger pangs. But with each spoonful you are…
Top 6 remedies to treat a razor burn at home Symptoms of razor burn include bumps on the skin, redness, and irritation of the skin. Find easy and…
Chromium Picolinate: An essential mineral supplement for faster weight loss Did you know that about 1.6 million deaths were directly linked to diabetes globally? How is it linked…
The science behind daith piercing: Can it really cure migraine? Since the ear has several pressure points, it is believed that daith piercing activates the vagus nerve and…
Lectin: The common link of proteins between peas and people Lectins are a type of protein that are found majorly in legumes. Most people are find it easy…
waterchestnut
Water Chestnuts: The tastiest ways to include this healthy tuber in your diet Water chestnut is not a nut after all. It is a tuber (much like the potatoes) growing close…
TBHQ: A carcinogen lingering in your child’s favorite snacks TBHQ - Why you should shun the practice of eating instant noodles or microwave popcorn to get rid…
dance health benefits
5 unbelievable effects of dance on your overall health! You enjoy dancing, but did you know what else it does to your body? Dancing is not only…
hidden benefits walking
9 benefits of walking we bet you didn’t know! Did you know walking can be the miracle pill for eternal youth? Everyone knows walking is good for…
GM Diet: The fastest way to lose weight or yet another hoax diet? General Motors started this trend of extreme dieting for 7 straight days to ensure its employees were able…
Piaget stages: Do they accurately describe the way the human brain develops?  A common assumption was that children are less competent thinkers as compared to adults, but this was refuted…
Quinine: How gin and tonic came to be known as a potent health elixir The discovery of quinine-containing tree bark is sometimes considered the most serendipitous medical discovery of the 17th century.
Orgasms: How to perfect the art of achieving intense bursts of pleasure (every time!) Orgasms are dependent not just on the sexual activity but on your partner as well. What you must…
Milk Thistle skin
Milk Thistle: Find possible cures for fatal diseases in these purple blooms Milk thistle is well-known for treating liver conditions. However, did you know that it comes with a plethora…
occupational hazards types
Occupational Hazards: How to vouch for your health at your workplace Occupational hazards affect millions worldwide. Chemical spills, faulty wires, deadly pathogen, and work-stress can happen anytime. Follow these…
kefir bottle
Kefir: Top reasons why this probiotic drink should be consumed by you Yet another remarkable fermented food, kefir is a much healthier version of yogurt. These chewy white grains can…
V for Vagina: How well do you know this extraordinary part of the female anatomy? Vagina - a simple part of the human anatomy that has often created a feeling of either digust…
Improve sex life
9 best tips from around the world for better sex life How can the pungent-smelling garlic pack in a punch to your libido? How could something as slimy as…
Juice Plus: Can you really replace actual fruits with pills?  Juice Plus supplements intend to fill nutritional gaps present in our daily diet. But how successful have they…
CLA: A breakthrough weight loss supplement with minimal side effects Tried every weight loss supplement in the market with no substantial gain? Why not try CLA supplements, derived…
Aphrodisiacs
Aphrodisiacs: These are the best foods to get you in the right mood While wine and chocolates have forever been associated with romance, there are several other aphrodisiac foods that can…
yoga health benefits
How to practice yoga for astounding health benefits Can a 5000-year-old system be the ultimate body healer? Did you know yoga can make you smarter and…
nutritional yeast bread
Nutritional Yeast : How can a fungi culture be good for your body? Nutritional yeast: How a simple culture of fungi can transform your skin, digestion, immunity , and much more.…
Chlorella: Therapeutic powers of the billion-year-old algae now within your reach Chlorella - A billion year old nutrient-rich algae that can potentially ward off cancers and high cholesterol; the…
human growth hormone
Human Growth Hormone (HGH) Test The HGH or human growth hormone test is a measure of GH or growth hormone level in the…
Jicama: A fiber-rich tuber for your weight loss goals Pronouced as HEE-kah-ma, Jicama is the "new kid on the block" that has taken the world by the…
liver detox facts
7 liver detox facts and why ignoring these could kill you! Are you taking care of this organ that handles over 500 different vital functions in your body? Your…
sleep deprivation
Don’t let your sleep deficit grow into memory loss or heart attack Why is sleep important for us? How could sleep deprivation harm you? We bet you didn't know about…
green poop causes
Green poop : What are the reasons and how can you correct it Ever sneak a peek down the toilet only to shockingly find green poop? Why does our poop turn…
Salt dangers
Sodium chloride: The wonders and dangers of the simple table salt Sodium chloride is a salt containing sodium and chlorine ions at a 1:1 ratio. It is edible and…
Carb Cycling: Weighing the pros vs the cons of this diet routine Completely discarding carbs from your life will do you more harm than good. Read more about carb cycling,…
Stye : The best natural home remedies to ease the pain Styes developing inside the eyelid tend to be more painful whereas external styes are less painful and ooze…
Vitamin K2: 8 reasons why you need this bone-building & cancer-fighting nutrient Vitamin K2 is claimed to be essential for your bone health, for reducing the risk of cancer, and…
Poop chart: Top things you didn’t you your poop could reveal about you Bristol poop chart was designed during the 1990s in order to help doctors identify various types of poops…
CHIKUNGUNYA IgM
Chikungunya-IgM Test Chikungunya-IgM is a blood test that is used to check the elevated levels of the IgM antibodies associated…
social media adddiction
Your health in the age of Social Media: Why is digital detox a necessity? Did you know that more than 400 million people are dangerously addicted to social media? Are you one…
hidden causes obesity
8 hidden causes of obesity you probably didn’t know! Did you know that around 2 billion people worldwide are either overweight or obese? Are you too a…
ashwagandha brain
Ashwagandha: The best-kept secret of Ayurveda now revealed! Ashwagandha literally means "smell of horse". Don't get bogged down by that one tiny detail because this ayurveduic…
eating disorder anorexia
Eating Disorders: Lifestyle choice or a psychological condition? Is eating disorder just a harmless bad habit? Or does it represent grim psychological disorders? Do you want…
vital organ diseases
Common diseases that could cripple your vital organs Brain, heart, kidney, lungs, and liver - these vital organs are indeed vital for your survival. However, these…
Silicon Dioxide: How can a component of sand be essential to your wellbeing? Silicon is one of the most abundant elements in the nature. Find out how silicon dioxide can prove…
Did you know drinking alkaline water could be the healthier choice for you? Ever wondered how safe is your drinking water in terms of pH? Recent studies have revealed that Alkaline…
BRAT Diet: What is the right way to follow this diarrhea-relieving diet? BRAT diet, a simple diet consisting of just bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast, can help you combat the…
General adaptation syndrome: Understanding stress, one step at a time The struggle of the body to produce hormones during a stressful situation is the main theme of general…
bananas exercise
10 health reasons why you should go “bananas” over bananas! Bananas:The world's most popular fruit comes with a host of unbelievable health benefits. Find out how you can…
dandelion health benefits
Dandelion: Little parachutes of health and wellness for your whole body Dandelions are not just bright looking blossoms that cheer your mind. These are powerpacked with essential nutrients that…
Experts reveal the safest ways to perform an enema at home The idea of pushing some up your rectal area might make you queasy but an enema could actually…
What is the average penis size and why should you care? Scientifically speaking, the average size of the penis depends on numerous factors such as genes, environmental circumstances, etc.
diabetes symptoms in women
FBS Test – Fasting Blood Sugar FBS or fasting blood sugar test is a blood test that is used to determine the level of…
ketoacidosis diabetes
HB1Ac Test HB1Ac test is an important blood test that is used to measure the levels of glycated hemoglobin in…
anoscopy
Anoscopy Anoscopy is an invasive diagnostic procedure where a small device known as anoscope will be inserted in the…
magnesium test
Magnesium Test The magnesium test is a blood test that is generally prsecribed when an individual starts showing signs of…
cancer facts
8 hard-hitting truths no one tells you about cancer Did you know that 1.5 million new cases of cancer are reported every year? Can second-hand smoking kill…
MANUKA HONEY child
Manuka Honey: What is it and why should you choose this over regular honey? Manuka honey is a specific type of honey produced by honey bees that collect nectar from the flowers…
autoimmune diseases facts
Autoimmune Diseases: Find out if your body is attacking you right now Did you know your body can harm itself? What are autoimmune diseases and why does it harm some…
Dragon Fruit – Blessing from Nature’s Basket The dragon fruit is packed with nutrients and yet low on calories and is the dream food that…
Isagenix diet
Isagenix Diet: Do you really need liquid meal replacements to lose weight? Isagenix Diet - What are liquid meal replacements and why is the world going ga-ga over them? Are…
Moringa drink
Moringa: This could be the most nutrient-dense food known to us! Moringa is a lush green tree brimming with over 90 essential nutrients required for a healthy mind and…
stevia side effects
Stevia: A healthy sugar substitute or yet another risky additive? Stevia is a plant native to South America.  It has been used as a natural sugar substitute and…
Trisodium Phosphate: How a paint thinner made its way into your breakfast Ever thought how toxic chemicals find their way into our foods? How can they harm our body? And…
How chlorophyll is more than just a green pigment meant for photosynthesis Cholorphyll - you must know the usual function of this chemical in plants. But did you know that…
Astaxanthin: Why experts believe it could be 550x more potent than vitamin E! What is astaxanthin and why is this new supplement on the block touted as the most powerful antioxidant…
Meditation: The shortest route to complete peace of mind (& body) in today’s world What is meditation exactly? How can sitting calmly for a few minutes per day contribute to a healthy…
Pescatarian Diet 101: What are the inherent health advantages of this diet? People opt to become a pescatarian in order to enrich their bodies with the essential health benefits that…
Water Fasting: What are the pros and cons of this practice? Fasting is defined as a procedure that involves the restriction of food intake. This practice has been widely…
Hydroquinone: Is it the best topical treatment for hyperpigmentation? Darkening of the skin due to high melanin levels is called hyperpigmentation.  Hydroquinone interferes with melanin production thus treating…
Coffee Enema: Turn your favorite morning beverage into a powerful colon cleanser The wonders of coffee are not just limited to waking you up every morning. You can now use…
diabetes symptoms in women
Diabetes in women: Understanding the dangers, risk factors, & treatment Diabetes causes more problems in women that it does in men. The risk of developing cardiovascular problems due…
CBC blood test
CBC (Hemogram 6-part diff) blood test CBC (Hemogram 6-part diff) blood test refers to the test that measures the number of RBCs, WBCs, etc…
Vitamin b12
Vitamin B12 Test Vitamin b12 is an essential nutrient required for healthy functioning of the nervous system and also development of…
serum zinc test
Serum Zinc Test The serum zinc test is a blood test performed to assess the zinc level in the blood (serum)…
SHBG test
Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG) Test SHBG is an important sex hormone that is linked to testosterone in men and estrogen in women. Abnormal…
carrageenan seaweed
Carrageenan: How a simple seaweed extract could better your gut health & immunity Eat more ice cream to prevent cold and flu? –With carrageenan you get one simple seaweed extract that…
low fodmap plan
Troubled with IBS? Here’s a complete roadmap to the low FODMAP diet Leaky & inflammatory gut troubling you? No medicine bringing you relief from the pain? Why not try the…
Jackfruit: Slice your way into higher immunity, better digestion, & more… Native to the South East Asia, the jackfruit is a fruit brimming with thousands of health benefits. Discover…
Shilajit: A miracle Himalayan herb for an active and happy life The Himalayas contain more wonders than you thought. Shilajit is a miracle herb that is widely used in…
How cooking with CLA safflower oil can help you lose weight? Read and discover more about CLA safflower oil and how it can aid faster fat metabolism in people…
How can Kegels help you overcome weak pelvic muscles & incontinence? Kegel exercises are pelvic floor strengthening exercises that can help you overcome incontinence issues that rise out of…
How do neutrophils protect you from fatal bacterial attacks? During an infection, certain enzymes alert the mature neutrophils.  Neutrophils then travel through the bloodstream to the affected…
shakeology woman
Meal replacement or protein drink? Learn all about Shakeology and its claims Shakeology from Beachbody claims to be the most suitable shake that can aid in weight loss, regulate blood…
Bubble Tea: Bubbling with nutrition or a hidden sugar mine? The tapioca pearls present in the tea looks like bubbles and hence the name bubble tea became popular.…
LFT-test
Liver Function Test – LFT LFT or Liver Function Test is a blood test used to determine the levels of hepatic enzymes which…
CORTISOL_test
Cortisol Test Cortisol test measures the cortisol levels ( produced by adrenal gland) through blood, urine, or saliva sample. The…
ANTIPHOSPHOLIPIDANTIBODY(APL)_IgG
Antiphospholipid (APL) antibody-IgG The Antiphospholipid Antibody testing is a blood test used to determine an autoimmune disorder called Antiphospholipid syndrome linked…
estradiol test
Estradiol Test The estradiol test measures the level of estrogen (E2), a hormone that is essential in development of sexual…
hemoglobin variant analysis
Hemoglobin Variant Analysis Hemoglobin variant analysis is a blood test that is used to detect the presence of hemoglobin variants which…
free thyroxine ft4
Free thyroxine test (FT4) The FT4 or free thyroxine test is a blood test used to detect the level of free thyroixine…
lifestyle diseases
The Big 5 lifestyle diseases: How your everyday living might be killing you You'd be shocked to know how unhealthy and potentially fatal your everyday routine could be. Has the modern…
fitness routine fun
10 fantastic ways to make your fitness routine more fun! Are you too bored to exercise? Do you avoid gym cause it's too monotonous? Looking for fun and…
lose weight fast
12 easy and instant steps to successful weight loss Do you want to lose weight without losing your mind? Does weight loss always mean saying goodbye to…
paleo keto diet
Paleo vs. Keto: Which diet plan is best suited for your body goals? Is eating like a caveman the right way to go? Can you really eat fats to burn fats…
Spirulina: Battle diabetes and cholesterol with this blue-green algae Spirulina, a species of salt water algae, has now become a billion dollar industry. How you can use…
Pumpkin Seeds: Why pumpkins are more than just for pies! Pumpkins have been long associated with Halloween carvings and delicious pies. But did you know that pumpkin seeds…
antibiotic resistance
Antibiotic Resistance: How common diseases become deadly Can a cold kill you? How important is to get a flu shot? Why do antibiotics fail against…
Military diet
Military Diet : Why following a highly restrictive diet is a bad idea Is seiging your calorie intake the right way to attack fats? Read more about Military diet, a highly…
Grapeseed Oil: Find out how to use this oil without any side-effects Grapes are known for their delicious fresh taste and the fact that they make wine a healthy drink.…
dandelion weight loss
Caralluma Fimbriata: How to eat this cactus to lose weight Caralluma fimbriata is a miracle cactus that can be safely consumed by most for losing weight and boosting…
Experts reveal, how long does marijuana actually stay in your system… Weed or marijuana is one of the most widely abused recreational drug. But did you know how long…
Vagus nerve: 7 health benefits of stimulating the “gut-brain” connection As a matter of fact, there are two vagus nerves namely the left and the right but is…
Sputum test Sputum test is a commonly used diagnostic tool that is used to examine the presence of pathogens in…
Thyroid disorders
T3 Test T3 is an important thyroid hormone. It's level is detected with the help of the T3 blood test.…
colposcopy
Colposcopy Colposcopy is a simple, quick and non- invasive diagnostic tool to look closely inside the vulva, vagina, and…
testosterone-blood-test
Testosterone test Testosterone is the primary sex hormone in males; produced in the testes and adrenal glands. The testosterone test…
Bloodtestalbumin
Albumin Test Albumin test or blood serum test is a liver function test that measures the amount of the protein…
anti mullerian hormone
Anti Mullerian Hormone (AMH) Test The AMH test or anti-mullerian hormone test is a test that is usually performed to measure the fertility…
Strep throat pain
Anti-Streptolysin-O Test The ASO or Anti-Streptolysin-O is a blood test designed to check for the presence of streptococcus bacterial infection…
PROGESTERONE_test
Progesterone test The progesterone test is a blood test used to determine the level of hormone progesterone in the blood…
c peptide test
C-Peptide test C-peptide is a blood or urine test which is used to monitor and assess the insulin production by…