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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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SKIN

# of surveys: 3825
Last updated: 10/12/2020 12:11 PM

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Compare our service to other similar practices

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Overall doctor performance

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The doctor listened to you attentively

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The doctor took time to answer your questions

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The doctor explained treatment options

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The doctor explained treatment options

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5.69%
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Front desk performance

excellent
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Office comfort

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What WE DID WELL

(Answers:674)

I was pleased that the Dr acknowleged my children and was patient with them during the visit.

#12019-11-22

YOU HAVE DONE AN EXCELLENT JOB OF ENSURING PATIENT SATISFACTION AND CARE QUALITY

#22020-04-23

The doctor explained things thoroughly to me. She was able to treat a couple of skin growths on site today. I was given a couple of sample products as well as a coupon toward the purchase of one of the prescribed products that I am to use.

#32011-05-18 16:40:00

The friendliness. professionalism and knowledge of all staff members.

#42020-10-07

Staff & Doctor were very friendly.

#52020-09-19

I was impressed that the doctor really listened to me and that she thoroughly answered my questions. Instead of telling me not to worry about things, she explained the nature of the condition and why it wasn't a concern. She also thoroughly explained my treatment options so I could make an informed decision.

#62020-09-02

Everyone was friendly, office was nice and bright, bathrooom was clean.

#72020-02-12

Quiet, on time, attentive, professional, organized, convenient, reasonably priced compared with others in the area.

#82011-01-31 10:42:48

I liked the waiting room it was really nice.

#92020-07-10

aNDREA AND DR RINGFEIL WERE ABS0LUTELY TERRIFIC AND VERY FRIENDLY

#102019-11-27

What can we do better?

(answers:373)

more sample products

#12011-06-02 14:59:00

No comments, everything is great.

#22011-02-21 13:37:17

move closer to home

#32010-11-08 09:51:29

A sign in front of office to locate parking for first timers would be helpful.

#42020-08-27

Keep doing the same thing.

#52020-06-12

Overall excellent service. Friendly front desk staff. A very small suggestion would be to have someone immediately identify themselves as the person to register a new patient and direct where to go when someone enters the waiting room. With a big waiting room and three people at the front desk, it is a lot to take in and not know to whom to speak. Having had negative experiences with doctors' receptionists where all three of the three people at the front desk have ignored me until I called out and forced a response, I am sensitive to the issue and imagine others have had this experience as well.

#62011-01-31 10:42:48

More chairs in the waiting room. More parking spaces.

#72010-09-15 12:08:01

More upbeat music! The warm temperature and the John Mayer-esque music made me feel as if it were bedtime =)

#82011-09-16 11:42:32

I am completely satisfied with the current level of service and really can't think of anything that you could improve upon. This survey is a good thing.

#92010-10-13 09:38:13

No changes needed.

#102020-09-27
Customer Rating : 4.5

Based on 178 ratings