Poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac are plants that are found in the wilderness. The leaves of poison ivy have compound or an oily exudate that is called as urushiol and it adheres to anything that is exposed to it and triggers a reaction when it comes in contact with the skin and the mucous membranes. The rash or reaction spreads easily and called contact dermatitis.
Some common symptoms of poison ivy
- The rash develops within a day or two after exposure to the plant, and if direct contact occurs with the leaves of the plant. In most cases, the rash can be severe.
- The itchy skin is susceptible to inflammation, redness and blisters. The rash begins as tiny raised bumps and then develops into full-blown blisters and oozes liquid and becomes crusty.
- The rash can happen anywhere in the body and usually develops streaks or straight lines over the affected areas.
- The skin is oozing
- The rash of poison ivy usually will last two to three days which depends on the severity and extent of the skin that is affected.
The main cause of poison ivy rash is the resin called urushiol which is secreted by the plant and is found in all the parts of the plant and even those that are already dead. The urushiol is very sticky and does not dry easily and increases the risk of spreading to other parts of the body. Poison ivy rash can be acquired by direct contact with the leaves, roots and fruits of the plant, clothes or other objects that have direct contact with the plant.
Urushiol can survive for years in dry environment. Clothes that are contaminated with resin can cause rash even years later if worn again. Inhaling smoke from burning poison ivy plants affects the mucus membranes in the eyes and nose.
Treatment and home remedies of poison ivy
- Apply cold compress using water or milk to the affected areas. When taking a bath add oatmeal to the bathtub with water, soak the affected area in the bathtub since it helps in minimizing itchiness and dry the oozing blisters.
- If there is dizziness, lie down and elevate the legs above the height of the head in order to help the flow of blood to the brain.
- Apply calamine lotion on the affected area helps to lessen the itching and pain.
- Make a paste by mixing baking soda, oatmeal, cornstarch or Epsom salts and a few drops of water and apply to the affected area since this helps in minimizing blistering and swelling as well as prevent the spreading of rash to other parts of the body.
- Avoid scratching the blisters it can cause secondary infections
- Eat foods high in Vitamin C, zinc, beta-carotene and calcium contents since it helps in boosting the immune system of the body and lessen inflammation of the skin and prevent spreading of the condition. Zinc helps in repairing tissues of skin as well as promoting good health.