Poison Ivy

Poison Ivy Treatment at Illinois Dermatology Institute

Poison ivy rash is the most common allergic reaction in the United States, affecting nearly 50 million Americans each year.

About 85% of the total population is allergic to poison ivy. Although typically not thought of as extremely harmful, poison ivy can cause severe symptoms for about 10% of those affected with it.

At IDI, we understand the irritation that can come with poison ivy exposure and reaction. We are here to help you mitigate your risk and effectively treat your symptoms sooner.

What is Poison Ivy?

Poison ivy is a type of plant that grows almost anywhere.

The sap of the poison ivy plant, known as Toxicodendron radicans, contains an oil called urushiol. This irritant is the cause of allergic reactions and rash that most people experience. It is important to note that this same oil is found in the leaves, stems, and roots of poison oak and poison sumac.

Poison Ivy Symptoms

The most common poison ivy symptom is a rash on the skin’s surface, typically formed in a straight line based on how the plant brushed up against your skin.

Other symptoms include:

  • Redness
  • Itching
  • Swelling
  • Blisters

In rare cases, you may experience difficulty breathing if you’ve inhaled the smoke from burning poison ivy.

Seldomly, people who come into contact with poison ivy oils do not experience any symptoms.

It is essential to know that you do not need to come in direct contact with poison ivy to develop a reaction to it. Its oils can linger on objects and people, which can be transmitted to your skin.

Poison Ivy Treatment

If you knowingly come in contact with poison ivy or its oils, wash your skin right away. Washing off the oil may reduce your chances of developing a poison ivy rash.

Most people can treat mild cases of poison ivy rash at home with soothing lotions and cool baths. A poison ivy rash typically resolves within two to three weeks.

For more severe cases of poison ivy where the rash is widespread or causes blistering, you may be prescribed an oral corticosteroid, such as prednisone, to reduce swelling.

If a bacterial infection has developed due to the rash, you may be prescribed an antibiotic.

If you or a loved one has recently developed a poison ivy rash that is not healing on its own or getting worse over time, we can help.

Our compassionate team of dermatological professionals is here to help relieve symptoms of poison ivy or any other skin diseases or conditions. Simply schedule an appointment today to get the relief and treatment you need sooner.