As summer is underway, understanding how to avoid contact with poisonous plants such as poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac is necessary to staying healthy. The danger of these plants lies in the oil called Urushiol that coats their stems and leaves. This oil causes an allergic reaction that manifests itself in irritated and inflamed skin in red bumps across the skin. This oil generally causes a reaction within 12-72 hours of contact, lasting around 12-20 days.
Although a serious reaction to this oil is rare, the following symptoms can generate a severe allergic reaction that can require emergency care.
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing
- Swelling or inflammation of the throat, mouth, tongue or eyelid
- Prolonged itching sensations
- Blistering rash that covers most of the body
In the event that you come into contact with the oil, but do not show serious symptoms, follow these steps to treat your mild symptoms.
- Rinse the affected area with lukewarm, soapy water
- Soak clothing, shoes and other apparel that may have come into contact with oil
- Press a cool compress to the affected area
- Apply OTC or prescription hydrocortisone cream to the affected area
- Take an antihistamine medication to reduce your reaction
If you or someone you know begins to show symptoms of poison ivy allergic reaction, visit Marlborough for fast, quality treatment. Our office is located at 38 Boston Post Road West in Marlborough, MA. For more information call 508-658-0764.