Goodbye winter, spring has finally arrived! For many, that means getting back outdoors. But if your activity includes hiking, camping or gardening, beware! Poison ivy season is upon us as well.
Poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac all contain an oil called urushiol that can cause an uncomfortable allergic rash in 85% of people. The itchy blistering rash, often appearing in streaks or lines, occurs 12-72 hours after skin contact with the oil. Springtime is the most common season, although the possibility of exposure continues well into the summer and fall.
Tips to prevent the poison ivy rash
1) Avoid direct contact with the plants
2) Be cautious of indirect contact
3) Consider using preventative creams
4) Wash or take a shower as quickly as you can after contact
Tips to relieve the poison ivy itch
1) Lukewarm baths in a colloidal oatmeal preparation (i.e., Aveeno®)
2) Calamine lotion
3) Short cool showers
4) Cool compresses to involved skin
5) Antihistamine pills (i.e., diphenhydramine (Benadryl®), cetirizine (Zyrtec®))
For more serious reactions, see a dermatologist at SkinCare Physicians. Possible prescription treatments include:
We at SkinCare Physicians in Boston wish you a very happy spring, free of itch!