Poison Oak and Poison Ivy

Poison oak and poison ivy are allergic skin conditions caused by contact with the oils from the bark, flowers, leaves, and/or stems of the plants poison oak, ivy, sumac, ragweed, and primrose.

Symptoms include contact dermatitis or allergic symptoms such as a rash and blisters. In severe cases, symptoms can also include lethargy (fatigue), sleep disorders, and general discomfort and feelings of illness.

What To Consider

Know what these poisonous plants look like. Poison oak, ivy, and sumac grow as vines or bushes, and the leaves have three leaflets (ivy and oak) or a row of paired leaflets (sumac). When spending time outdoors in areas where these plants grow, avoid touching them and wear long sleeve pants and shirts. Also wash any clothing that comes in contact with the plants. Sometimes cases that do not go away are due to repeated exposure through contaminated clothing.

Some sensitive individuals may react or continue to be exposed to the oils of these plants by being around pets and other animals petting animals that have run through patches of the plants. They can also contract poison oak and poison ivy by inhaling smoke from the burning plants.

Caution

In cases of severe reaction that cause difficulty breathing, seek medical attention immediately. Very hot water from baths or showers can also spread the rash and exacerbate symptoms.

Self-Care Tips

Nutritional Supplementation
At the first sign of outbreak take the following nutrients to minimize symptoms
vitamin A, vitamin B complex, vitamin C, vitamin E, and zinc. Zinc oxide can also be applied topically.

Flower Essences
Rescue Remedy Cream applied topically, and Crab Apple added to pure filtered water can speed healing.

Herbs
Apply a poultice of equal parts of witch hazel, mugwort, white oak bark, and plantain to affected areas.

Hydrotherapy
Apply a cold compress as needed to soothe itching.

Topical Treatment
Rinse affected area with apple cider vinegar, and in the evening take a warm bath with apple cider vinegar or cornstarch. Aloe vera gel, witch hazel, baking soda paste, or a paste of activated charcoal powder are also good topical treatments.

Caution

If your symptoms persist despite the above measures, seek the help of a qualified health professional.

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