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Written by Dr. Ringpfeil

Poison Ivy

Overview

Poison ivy causes a skin irritation called contact dermatitis and results in a red, itchy rash consisting of small bumps, blisters or swelling. Many people are sensitive to an oily plant resin called urushiol, the common irritating substance in poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac. It takes only a tiny amount of urushiol to cause a reaction. Urushiol is very sticky and doesn't dry, so it easily attaches to your skin, clothing, tools, equipment and pet's fur. Treatment for poison ivy aims to relieve the itching until the reaction naturally resolves.

Diagnosis

Signs and symptoms of a poison ivy rash include redness, itching, swelling and blisters. The rash usually appears within a couple of days after contact with the plant's oils and lasts for up to 3 weeks. Poison ivy can vary from mild to severe. It presents as a red rash that it is extremely itchy; eruptions in streaks or patches where the plant touched the skin and where it was transmitted by our hands from the original site of contact to other areas; red bumps and possibly also large, weeping blisters.

Management

The poison ivy reaction is self-resolving and not contagious. However, certain circumstances require clinical attention. For example, a severe or widespread reaction; rash affecting sensitive areas of your body, such as your eyes, mouth or genitals; large blisters or a fever. Scratching a poison ivy rash with dirty fingernails might cause a secondary bacterial infection resulting in pus within the blisters. Treatment of a secondary infection generally requires prescription antibiotics. In rare circumstances, poison ivy may be so severe that hospitalization is indicated.

Treatment and Medication

The urushiol resin enters skin quickly, so try to wash it within 30 minutes of exposure with soap and water or with Tecnu, an oil-removing product. Scrub under the fingernails with a brush to prevent the resin from spreading to other parts of the body. Typically, the poison ivy rash goes away on its own within one to three weeks. Effective relief of symptoms can be achieved with over-the-counter medications like calamine lotion, hydrocortisone cream or aluminum acetate (Domeboro solution) soaks. Antihistamines can stop extreme itching. In severe cases, especially rash around the face or genitals, your doctor may prescribe oral or injected steroids.

Coping

Fortunately, neither the poison ivy rash nor blister fluid is contagious. Since the reaction is based on contact with urushiol, thoroughly clean anything that may be contaminated. If the contact with urushiol has left black stains on clothing or utensils, these need to be exposed off as effective cleansing can no longer be performed. Gently washing off the harmful resin from your skin within minutes after exposure may help avert a reaction.

Prevention

The best way to prevent an allergic or irritant reaction from urushiol is avoidance of contact with poison ivy, poison sumac or poison oak. Know what these plants look like and where they are commonly found. They typically have leaves made of three or more leaflets and climb on other plants or fences. When hiking or engaging in other activities that might expose you to poison ivy, try to stay on cleared pathways. Remove poison ivy from your backyard.

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Last updated: 05/25/2018 9:32 AM,

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What WE DID WELL

(Answers:674)

prompt everything explained clearly

#12019-05-20

I am extremely impressed. Felt comfortable and confident in the doctor's treatments. the staff was very professional yet kind and very helpful. The doctor's knowledge of medical condition

#22019-04-22

Physician was very excellant in explaining treatment and cause of skin problem.

#32019-05-31

The office staff is extremely friendly and make you feel very comfortable, along with Dr. Ringpfeil.

#42011-05-05 14:42:55

I have been to a number of derm docs....often it seems as though they have you try this or that but never seem to have a clear plan as to how they will treat ALL of the issues at hand. Thank you for taking the time to address each one of my concerns.

#52018-12-07

Excellent service; thanks for not making me wait to be seen, like I do in every other doctor's office!

#62011-06-08 09:39:58

The staff were very professional and service was above those i have had in the past.

#72011-03-29 09:40:00

being seen promptly

#82018-11-11

I especially enjoyed the atmosphere and the music. It made my visit very enjoyable.

#92011-04-15 08:36:16

I enjoyed the French music in the reception area.

#102018-10-05

What can we do better?

(answers:373)

Maybe directions as "across from the Lexus place." Have the assistant say there may be a name recall test later, as she introduces herself.

#12010-12-07 10:07:04

When making the initial appointment and then calling to try to get it moved up (our of fear that I had a melanoma), I didn't think that one of the booking person(s) was particularly helpful or reassuring.

#22018-11-10

Get some better parking spaces

#32019-03-29

Shorter wait, but not much else.

#42019-03-29

Very satisfied. Should get an office in Cherry Hill, NJ

#52018-08-09

It was good

#62018-12-26

Shorter wait

#72019-06-23

I can't think of anything at this time.

#82019-05-31

please make a reminder call. I checked my cell for one and you hadn't.

#92018-08-30

I thought that consideration could have been made re: pricing of skin tag removal since I only had one tag removed.

#102019-01-23
Customer Rating : 4.8

Based on 4 ratings