First Aid for Poison Ivy
Poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac are the most common plants that cause a skin rash. A sap that comes from these plants causes the rash. The name of this sap, urushiol, causes an allergic reaction. It is not really a poison. Not everyone reacts to urushiol. If you are allergic to it, though, you can get a skin rash when you:
- Touch poison ivy, poison oak or poison sumac.
- Touch clothing or shoes that have the sap on them.
- Touch pets that have the sap on them.
- Come in contact with the smoke of these burning plants.
The skin rash comes a day or two after contact with the poisonous plant. Things to look for are:
- Burning feeling
Know what these plants look like and avoid them:
- Poison ivy.
- Poison oak
Poison ivy and poison oak both have three leaflets per stem.
Poison sumac. Poison sumac has a row of six to ten leaflets. One leaflet is at the end of the stem. The others are in two rows opposite to each other.
If you know you have come in contact with one of the plants, do the things below within 6 hours. You may prevent an allergic reaction if you do.
- Remove all clothes and shoes that have touched the plant.
- Wash your skin with soap and water.
- Apply rubbing alcohol with cotton balls to the parts of the skin that are affected.
- Rinse with water.