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How can poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac cause skin allergies?

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When parts of the leaves of these plants are damaged or bruised, they release an oil called urushiol. And if that gets on your skin, it causes an itchy red rash with bumps or blisters.

You can treat the rash with wet compresses, calamine lotion, oatmeal baths, or hydrocortisone cream. But see a doctor right away if your reaction is severe or if you breathed in the oil, perhaps from burning plants.

From: Common Causes of Skin Allergies WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

Nelson, J. , October 2010. Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology

Columbia University Department of Dermatology: "Skin Allergies: Contact Dermatitis and Patch Testing."

CDC: "Poisonous Plants."

American Osteopathic College of Dermatology: "Nickel Allergy."

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology: "Latex Allergy," "Contact Dermatitis."

World Allergy Organization: "Contact Dermatitis."

Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. "Clothing Dermatitis and Clothing-Related Skin Conditions," August 2001.

DermNet New Zealand: "Contact allergy to preservatives," "Allergy to imidazolidinyl urea."

Handa, S. , Nov-Dec. 2011. Indian Journal of Dermatology

Cleveland Clinic: "Drug Eruptions."

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America: "Contact Dermatitis."

Reviewed by Debra Jaliman on October 10, 2017

SOURCES:

Nelson, J. , October 2010. Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology

Columbia University Department of Dermatology: "Skin Allergies: Contact Dermatitis and Patch Testing."

CDC: "Poisonous Plants."

American Osteopathic College of Dermatology: "Nickel Allergy."

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology: "Latex Allergy," "Contact Dermatitis."

World Allergy Organization: "Contact Dermatitis."

Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. "Clothing Dermatitis and Clothing-Related Skin Conditions," August 2001.

DermNet New Zealand: "Contact allergy to preservatives," "Allergy to imidazolidinyl urea."

Handa, S. , Nov-Dec. 2011. Indian Journal of Dermatology

Cleveland Clinic: "Drug Eruptions."

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America: "Contact Dermatitis."

Reviewed by Debra Jaliman on October 10, 2017

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How can nickel cause skin allergies?

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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