A nice walk in the woods sounds like a good idea until you come home and start scratching. Soon, you may notice you have a rash on your skin, and it’s spreading. That leads to questions about if there’s a possibility you came in contact with poison ivy or poison oak.
If you have spent time outside, especially hiking or camping, the answer could be yes. Be sure to seek immediate care if you have trouble breathing, have swelling in your face or eyes, or itching that makes it impossible to sleep.
How Did I Get Poison Ivy or Poison Oak?
Generally speaking, a person gets poison ivy or poison oak when they come in direct skin contact with the oily resin found in these plants. That resin is called urushiol. It’s in the leaves, stems, and even the roots. If you touch it, wash your hands right away with soap and water to remove the risk.
You can also get poison ivy or poison oak from touching someone else, or being touched, who has that oil on their skin or clothing. It is easily transferred from person to person.
Symptoms of Poison Ivy and Poison Oak
It’s also important to know the symptoms of poison ivy and poison oak, especially if you haven’t had it before. Common symptoms include:
- Blisters that form on the skin
- Itching that seems impossible to control
This rash often appears in a straight line, but it can be more spread out, especially if you’ve touched your hand to the plant and transferred the oils to other areas of the body. Most often, the reaction will last up to 48 hours.
Poison Ivy and Oak Remedies
Knowing what to put on poison ivy can be difficult because not every product works in every case. However, there are some common poison ivy and oak remedies to try.
In most cases, using an over-the-counter anti-itch product can help you. It works by treating the itching and helping to reduce the inflammation brought on by the reaction. The use of hydrocortisone cream, for example, is a common treatment option that’s highly effective.
Another option is to use calamine lotion. It is a soothing topical treatment that can help provide relief from any itching and burning you may feel. It is one of the best treatments for poison ivy and poison oak because it starts working immediately.
When to See Your Doctor
If you are experiencing intense symptoms from poison oak or poison ivy, including any respiratory distress, seek immediate medical attention. If your condition doesn’t improve within a few days or your symptoms worsen, seek a doctor’s care.
Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for using these products unless otherwise directed by a healthcare professional. Without the doctor’s direction, you would typically not use over-the-counter treatments for more than a few days. Most importantly, follow your doctor’s guidance in treating your condition.
You can find a wide range of poison oak and poison ivy treatments available at Simply Medical.