Poison Ivy: Are you Staying Safe?

medical dermatology TXPoison ivy, along with its cousin’s poison oak and sumac, is a common plant that most people know they want to avoid. The rash, the blisters, and, oh! That itch! Need we say more? What we will say is that there are interesting details about poison ivy that may come as a surprise. If you’re not aware of them, you may come face to face with the very symptoms you wish to avoid.

Did you Know . . ?

  1. Fido may be the reason you’re itching. If a rash develops shortly after you and your pet enjoyed a romp through the wilderness, but you had no contact with potentially toxic plants, it could be that poison ivy resin has transferred from your pet to you. Dogs and cats seem to have a built-in immunity to this resin, so there is little way to know it is on their fur. That is until you touch it.
  2. Wintertime isn’t a safer time. Poison ivy and poison oak both die off somewhat in the winter. That does not mean they are dormant and without rash-causing resin. This is present on the stems and roots, too; so, no leaves doesn’t mean any threat.
  3. Poison ivy rash is not contagious. This temporary condition results from direct contact with the resin of the plant. This resin does not remain within the skin irritation. If you scratch, the rash is not likely to spread. If you touch someone with a rash from poison ivy, this does not mean you will contract a rash yourself. However, the resin may adhere to clothing (or your pet), or other objects for some time.
  4. When it heats up, the rash may flare up. Heat tends to worsen some skin irritations. If you know you have a poison ivy rash, avoid hot water showers and baths, and do not sit in a hot tub or sauna until your symptoms have diminished. Even the heat of the great outdoors may be a catalyst for increased itching.

If you suspect that you or a loved one may have a rash caused by poison ivy or poison oak, contact our office. Confirmation of the cause of a rash facilitates proper treatment. We’ve got two San Antonio offices to serve you.

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