Allergic contact dermatitis is a type of rash that can develop on the skin of people that come into contact with plants that include poison oak, poison sumac, and poison ivy. Plant dermatitis, which is the rash that many people develop after touching these plants, is the most common type of skin condition that occurs from plant contact. Rather large areas of the skin can be affected with the hives that these plants are known to cause. Another common indicator that a person has had an allergic reaction to poison oak, sumac, or ivy, is the blisters or bumps that appear on the skin that are filled with fluid. This type of rash often becomes extremely itchy, red, and uncomfortable, and it usually appears on the skin in streaks or lines.
Common Symptoms Experienced with the Rash of Poison Oak, Sumac, or Ivy
The urushiol or the oil that is contained in poison oak, sumac, and ivy is an allergen and is what causes people who are allergic to this substance to break out in a rash of plant dermatitis. This oil can be found in the stems, leaves, berries, flowers, and roots of these plants. When a person comes in contact with this oil they will generally experience the following symptoms:
- Blisters or bumps that contain fluid that often leaks out
- A redness of the skin or streak may be noticed where the plant came in contact with the person’s skin
- The area of skin that touched the plant will usually become extremely itchy
- Hives (large areas of raised skin) or bumps will begin to form on the skin
What a lot of people are not aware of is you do not necessarily have to touch a poison oak, sumac, or ivy plant to have an allergic reaction to the plant that forms a rash. The rash can also be caused by an indirect contact to the urushiol in these plants. This often happens when a person has touched sporting equipment, articles of clothing, tools for gardening, and other items that have the plants urushiol on it. Contrary to what some people believe, a person cannot get this kind of rash by simply touching the rash of another infected person.
In a majority of cases the rash with typically show up around 48 hours after contact. There is however times that it can take as long as 15 days for the rash to appear. If it is the first time a person has had a reaction to poison oak, sumac, or ivy, it can take over a week for the rash to show up. In later reactions it may only take one or two days for the rash to appear.
How to Treat the Rash Caused by Poison Oak, Sumac, or Ivy
The treatment of the rash that is caused by these plants is easy and inexpensive. In most cases the rash can be effectively treated at home. This involves washing the affected area as soon as possible. Baths made of cool water and cool compresses usually help to relieve the symptoms of the rash. Calamine lotion and antihistamines can also be purchased over-the-counter.