Whether your itchy rash is from poison ivy, oak, or sumac, you've got plenty of choices to get relief. For most folks, those annoying bumps and blisters will be nothing but a bad memory in a few weeks. If you think your skin rubbed up against one of the poisonous plants, wash the area thoroughly with soap and cool water right away. The sooner you clean your skin, the more likely you'll be able to remove the oils that cause an allergic reaction. It's also a good idea to wash all clothes and shoes that may have touched one of the plants, too. A rash due to poison ivy, oak, or sumac may show up right away. But sometimes it can take a few days after you had contact with the plant for a rash to appear. You chop down a scraggly shrub while trimming your lawn. Then, your arms and legs start tingling and turn red. Much too late you realize that shrub was actually poison ivy. Finding poison ivy is easy in the United States, where it grows virtually everywhere except for Alaska, Hawaii, and some desert areas of the Southwest. It also grows in parts of Canada, Mexico, and Asia. It’ll stick to almost anything: your clothes and shoes, camping and gardening equipment, even your pets’ or horses’ coats. It’s easy to identify by its clusters of three pointed leaves. They turn green in summer and various shades of red, yellow, or orange in the fall. It can transfer to and from your hands to your cell phone or any object you touch and spread to others. Poison ivy produces an oil called urushiol that causes a rash in about 85 percent of people who come in contact with it, notes the American Academy of Dermatology. And it’s in virtually every part of the plant: leaves, stems, even the roots. Brushing against a winter-bared vine can still cause the rash.
In treating exposure to the plant toxin, timing is everything, specialists in poison ivy have discovered. By beginning steroid therapy as soon as. Find out what kinds creams or home remedies can help ease the itchy rash of poison ivy, oak, or sumac.