Poison Ivy - Oak - Sumac
See More Appropriate Topic (instead of this one):
- A very itchy, blistering rash caused by contact with the poison ivy plant
- Localized redness, swelling, and weeping blisters
- Located on exposed body surfaces (such as the hands) or areas touched by the hands (e.g., the face or genitals). May be carried by pets.
- Extreme itchiness
- Onset 1 or 2 days after the patient was in a forest or field
- Rash is shaped like streaks or lines
- Caused by oil from poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac plants
- The oil is found in the leaves, stems, berries and roots of the plant.
- May be carried by pets.
Return to School
- Poison ivy or oak is not contagious to others. No need to miss any school or child care.
When to Call for Poison Ivy - Oak - Sumac
Call Us Now (night or day) If
- Your child looks or acts very sick
- Difficulty breathing or severe coughing following exposure to burning weeds
- Looks infected (e.g., soft yellow scabs, pus or spreading redness)
- You think your child needs to be seen urgently
Call Us Within 24 Hours (between 9 am and 4 pm) If
- You think your child needs to be seen, but not urgently
- Swelling is severe (e.g., the eyes are swollen shut)
- Severe poison ivy reaction in the past
- Rash involves more than one fourth of the body
- Face, eyes, lips or genitals are involved
- Severe itching (e.g., can't sleep)
- Big blisters or oozing sores
- Taking oral steroids for over 24 hours and rash becoming worse
Call Us During Weekday Office Hours If
- You have other questions or concerns
- Rash lasts longer than 3 weeks
Parent Care at Home If
- Mild poison ivy or sumac and you don't think your child needs to be seen
HOME CARE ADVICE FOR MILD POISON IVYSteroid Cream:
Apply 1% hydrocortisone cream (no prescription needed) 4 times per day to reduce itching. Keep the cream in the refrigerator (Reason: It feels better if applied cold).
Soak the involved area in cool water for 20 minutes or massage it with an ice cube as often as necessary to reduce itching and oozing.
If itching persists, give Benadryl (no prescription needed) orally every 6 hours as needed (see Dosage table).
Cut the fingernails short and discourage scratching to prevent a secondary infection from bacteria.