Poison ivy, oak, and sumac

Poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac are plants that can cause a skin rash, called allergic contact dermatitis, upon contact. The red, uncomfortable, and itchy rash often shows up in lines or streaks and is marked by fluid-filled bumps (blisters) or large raised areas (hives).

Less common but more serious symptoms include swelling of the face, neck, genitals, or eyelids (which may prevent the eyes from closing) and widespread, large blisters that ooze a lot of fluid.

Home treatment for the rash, such as using wet compresses on the rash or soaking the area in cool water, will often relieve mild symptoms. Prescription medicine may be needed to treat more severe reactions.

Last Updated: September 17, 2009

Author: Maria Essig

Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine

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