Skip to content
    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Understanding Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac -- Treatment

    What Are the Treatments for Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac?

    First, if you think you have been exposed to poison ivy, oak, or sumac, wash all exposed areas thoroughly. If you can do this within 10 minutes of contact, many times you may avoid an allergic reaction.

    You can treat most cases of the rash yourself with calamine lotion. Cold compresses -- 15 to 30 minutes several times a day -- are useful for itching and blistering; cool showers are also effective. Antihistamines may also relieve the symptoms. If you have complications from a severe case, you will need to see a doctor. If the rash is severe or wide spread, your doctor may recommend oral prednisone or another corticosteroid.

    Recommended Related to Skin Problems & Treatments

    5 MRSA 'Hot Spots'

    Where in your community can you find the drug-resistant staph germs known as MRSA? The surprising answer: They're closer than you may think. With all the buzz about MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), it's easy to forget there really are two MRSA epidemics going on at the same time. By far the largest epidemic is going on inside hospitals and other health care facilities. The staph bug causing these infections resists treatment with a broad range of antibiotics. Because it attacks...

    Read the 5 MRSA 'Hot Spots' article > >

    If you do come in contact with any of these poisonous plants, be sure to clean your clothing, tools, or any gear that you may have had with you. Since the plants' toxic resin, urushiol, can remain on clothing and other items for extended periods of time, you don't want to be re-exposed at a later date by touching a contaminated item.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on March 22, 2015

    Today on WebMD

    chafing
    Pictures and symptoms of the red, scaly rash.
    woman with dyed dark hair
    What it says about your health.
     
    woman with cleaning products
    Top causes of the itch that rashes.
    atopic dermatitus
    Identify and treat common skin problems.
     
    itchy skin
    Article
    shingles rash on skin
    Article
     
    woman with skin tag
    Quiz
    Woman washing face
    Video
     
    woman washing her hair in sink
    Video
    close up of womans bare neck
    Tools
     
    Feet
    Slideshow
    woman with face cream
    Quiz