Poison Ivy

Monday, May 24, 2010

The more time you spend outdoors, the greater your chances of running into poison ivy, poison oak or poison sumac. In todays 60 Second Housecall, Dr. Edward Hill discusses what to do if the tell-tale rash appears.

Dr. Hill:

Poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac all secrete an oil that causes a skin rash. This rash is characterized by fluid-filled blisters arranged in lines or streaks.

The plants oil transfers easily from one object to another. Clothing, tools or pets can pick up the oil and pass it directly to you. The chemical can remain active for a year or longer, so its important to wash exposed clothes, tools or pets.

A rash usually appears 12 to 48 hours after contact with the plant oil. Some people can develop more serious symptoms that may require medical attention.

Fluid from the blisters cannot spread the rash. So poison ivy cannot be passed between persons, unless the plant oil is still on the skin. If you come into contact with poison ivy, wash your skin immediately to deactivate the plant oil and keep it from spreading. Be sure to wear vinyl gloves when you wash items that touched the plant, because the oil can penetrate rubber gloves.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.