When you come in contact with poison oak or poison ivy, it's likely that a skin rash is on its way. Prepare yourself for itchiness and discomfort. However, if you're suffering from one of these skin rashes, here are a few ways you can find relief from your symptoms.
Before you do anything else, make sure you rinse the affected area of your skin with warm, soapy water. Doing so can help wash away some of the oil from the plant you touched and prevent the rash from spreading to another person or to another area of your body. Make sure you do this as soon as possible after you think you've touched poison oak, poison ivy, or poison sumac. While these types of rashes may be a little different from one another, they're all spread the same way. It's also a good idea to wash anything that may have come into contact with the plant. That includes clothing, your hair, shoes, and socks. Even pets can carry the oils on their fur and if you pet them, it can carry over. If you and your best friend have been hiking or walking through the woods, it may be a good idea to wipe them down with a wet towel or pet-friendly cleansing wipe.
One of the most consistent and annoying symptoms of poison oak or poison ivy is itchiness. Fortunately, there are a few solutions that can help mitigate the feeling of having itchy hives all over your skin. Calamine lotion is particularly helpful at relieving the itching caused by poison ivy. And if you have a very mild rash, then hydrocortisone cream is another excellent option to consider. You can purchase both of these creams at your local pharmacy, but it's a good idea to talk to your dermatologist to find out what they recommend before using either one.
Antihistamine pills may also help you reduce symptoms of itching from poison oak or poison ivy. Steer clear of topical antihistamines, though. It's not advised to apply an antihistamine to your skin when you have a skin rash from poison oak or poison ivy. Doing so can actually make your rash and your other symptoms worse. As with the hydrocortisone cream, it's a good idea to speak with your dermatologist before you take any kind of antihistamine for your rash.
When you're suffering from poison oak or poison ivy, a mild rash will typically go away in a few days. If your rash persists for seven days or more, it's time to call your dermatologist and make an appointment. In addition, any signs of infection like blisters, fever, or swelling require immediate medical attention. It's also a good idea to see your dermatologist if you're not sure what kind of skin rash you're suffering from. Don't take any chances and get relief as soon as possible.
A skin rash from poison oak or poison ivy is no joke. If you're not sure whether your rash is the result of these plants and you need an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan, contact SE Dermatology Specialists to consult with one of our doctors today.