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Allergies to Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac


What Should I Do If I am Exposed to a Poison Plant?

If you think you may have been exposed to a poison plant:

  • Remove your clothes.
  • Wash all exposed areas with cool running water. Use soap and water if possible. Be sure to clean under fingernails. In the woods, the water of a running stream can be an effective cleanser.
  • Wash clothing and all gardening tools, camping gear, sports equipment, and other objects that came into contact with the plants.
  • Bathe pets exposed to the plants.

When Should I Call the Doctor About Poison Plants?

If any of the following occurs after being exposed to a poison plant, seek immediate medical attention:

  • You have symptoms of a severe reaction, such as severe swelling and/or difficulty breathing
  • You have been exposed to the smoke of burning poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac
  • The rash covers more than one quarter of your body
  • The rash occurs on the face, lips, eyes, or genitals
  • The initial treatment does not relieve symptoms
  • You develop a fever and/or the rash shows signs of infection, such as increased tenderness, pus or yellow fluid oozing from the blisters, and an odor coming from the blisters



WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Luqman Seidu, MD on May 19, 2014
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