Poison Ivy

Poison ivy or contact dermatitis, as it is also called, is caused by contact with the sap of the poison ivy plant or similar plants whose chemicals cause a blister-like itching rash. Poison ivy can occur only after actual contact with the sap of the plant or from the smoke of a burning plant. Once it has bound to the skin, it cannot spread to other sites, although other areas of poison ivy may become apparent over the next one to two days. It is possible to contact additional sap from clothing that has sap on it and has not yet been washed.

The obvious treatment is prevention of contact with poison ivy or similar plants. Ivy Block is an over the counter lotion which can be applied one hour before potential exposure in order to prevent the poison ivy rash. If you do accidentally come into contact with the plant, wash the involved skin and clothing immediately. Treatment involves applying cool compresses to the area three times a day or as needed. Calamine lotion or Cort-Aid can also be applied to relieve itching and hasten healing. If your child is age 6 months or older, oral Benadryl, one teaspoon for every 25 pounds of body weight, may be given every six hours for itching.

If these measures fail to relieve the itching or control poison ivy, or the rash involves the face, please call us for an appointment so that we can use more rigorous treatment if necessary. If there is fever, excessive swelling, pain, redness or pus-like drainage from the area, please see us for an appointment.