Skip to content

Poisonous Plants

Poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac can give you itchy skin and a red, blistering rash. The reaction happens when oil from these plants gets onto your skin.

The best way to prevent a rash is to learn what these plants look like and avoid them. If you do come in contact with a poisonous plant, wash your skin in cool water right away. Scrub under your fingernails so you won’t spread the oil to other parts of your body. Wash your clothes in hot water to remove the oil.

If you still come into contact with these poisonous plants, use these tips to find relief:

  • Apply cool compresses to your skin.
  • Take a lukewarm bath using an oatmeal bath product or aluminum acetate.
  • Use calamine lotion, an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream, or antihistamine.

Call your doctor if you have a fever, the rash is severe or looks infected, or if the rash is on your lips, eyes, face, or genital area.

Summer Cuts and Scrapes

Cuts and scrapes can happen year-round but are more likely during the summer, when you’re enjoying outdoor activities.

To treat them:

  • Use cool, running water and soap to clean a minor cut or scrape.
  • To stop a cut from bleeding, use a clean cloth or tissue to apply firm pressure to the cut. Apply pressure for 5-20 minutes to stop the bleeding.
  • If your cut is in an area that won’t get dirty, you may decide to leave it uncovered. Otherwise, bandage it and change the bandage every day.
  • As your cut heals, it will form a scab. Don't pick at it. The scab will fall off on its own when the wound has healed.

See your doctor if you notice signs of infection, such as fever, inflammation, tenderness, or pus coming from the wound.

Of course, you should seek immediate medical attention for major skin wounds that are deep, bleed heavily, or have objects deeply embedded in them.

How Can You Stop an Itch?

Quiz yourself about how to treat poison ivy, sunburn, and more.
Get Started

WebMD Video Series

Click here to wach video: Poison Ivy Pitfalls

It's not just summer. Poison ivy and its nasty cousins, poison sumac and poison oak, strike year round.

Click here to watch video: Poison Ivy Pitfalls