Poison ivy

Internal Medicine in Sugar Land, Texas


Poison ivy is a rash that’s caused by urushiol, an oily resin found in the leaves, stems and roots of poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac. For many, contact with these plants causes an allergic reaction that results in intense itching, redness, blisters and swelling of the skin. Difficulty breathing can be experienced if you’ve inhaled smoke from poison ivy that is being burned.

Scratching a poison ivy rash may cause the skin to become infected. If pus starts oozing from the blisters, it is time to seek treatment, which generally includes antibiotics. Blister fluid doesn’t contain urushiol, so scratching won’t spread the rash as commonly believed. In addition, you won’t get poison ivy from someone else unless that person still has urushiol on their body or clothing and you touch the oily resin.

If you come into contact with poison ivy or another plant producing urushiol, wash your skin right away. The symptoms usually don’t appear until 12 to 48 hours after you have come in contact with the plant and can last two to three weeks.

Diagnosis & Treatment

Mild cases of poison ivy can often be treated at home with self-care methods such as lotions and cool baths. The rash will usually go away on its own in two to three weeks. If the rash is extensive or includes a large number of blisters, an oral corticosteroid may be prescribed. If the rash site develops a bacterial infection, a prescription for an oral antibiotic may be needed. Sugar Land Physicians clinicians will be able to provide the right treatment to help you become healthy.