Poison Ivy,Oak,or Sumac - When To Call a Doctor
Call 911or other emergency services if you have a rash and:
- Are having severe trouble breathing.
Call a doctor
- The rash (allergic
contact dermatitis ) from
poison ivy, oak, or sumac causes great discomfort that
is not relieved by home treatment (for instance, you apply calamine lotion to
the rash, but itching continues to make it difficult to sleep).
signs of infection, such as pain, swelling, or warmth
around the affected area.
- The rash covers a very large area of the
- Home treatment causes the rash to get worse or to come back
after nearly disappearing.
- Rashes occur frequently, and you are not
sure what is causing them. (The rashes may be caused by another kind of
- Your mouth is swollen or you think the rash has spread to your
- The rash has spread to your face, particularly around an
- You have a rash and a
weakened immune system.
Watchful waiting is a wait-and-see approach. If
the rash is not severe, watchful waiting may be appropriate. Home treatment may
be used to relieve symptoms. Dark spots may develop, but this is not
Watchful waiting is not appropriate if the rash develops
over your entire body, becomes infected, or reappears or gets worse after using
medicine. See your doctor.
Who to see
You may not
need to see a doctor for the rash. But if you want to find the
cause of the rash or if you want to treat an uncomfortable, severe, or infected rash, you may
choose to see:
family medicine doctor.
- A pharmacist.
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.