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What are the signs of a more serious reaction to poison ivy, oak, and sumac?

ANSWER

Some people have a more serious reaction to poison ivy, oak, or sumac. Make an appointment with your doctor if you notice any of these problems:

Your doctor may prescribe an oral corticosteroid, such as prednisone. She may also give you a steroid cream to apply to your skin. If the rash becomes infected, you may need to take an oral antibiotic.

  • Temperature over 100 F
  • Pus on the rash
  • Soft yellow scabs
  • Itching that gets worse or keeps you up at night
  • The rash spreads to your eyes, mouth, or genital area
  • Your rash doesn't get better within a few weeks

SOURCES:

American Academy of Dermatology: "Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac."

FDA: "Outsmarting Poison Ivy and Other Poisonous Plants."

American Academy of Pediatrics: "Poison Ivy Treatment."

American Academy of Family Physicians: "Poison Ivy."

Mayo Clinic: "Poison Ivy Rash: Lifestyle and Home Remedies," "Treatments and Drugs."

UpToDate: "Poison ivy (Beyond the Basics)."

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on November 09, 2017

SOURCES:

American Academy of Dermatology: "Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac."

FDA: "Outsmarting Poison Ivy and Other Poisonous Plants."

American Academy of Pediatrics: "Poison Ivy Treatment."

American Academy of Family Physicians: "Poison Ivy."

Mayo Clinic: "Poison Ivy Rash: Lifestyle and Home Remedies," "Treatments and Drugs."

UpToDate: "Poison ivy (Beyond the Basics)."

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on November 09, 2017

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When should I get emergency care for poison ivy, oak, and sumac?

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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.

    This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.