This year around 50 million Americans will experience the uncomfortable symptoms accompanying an encounter with poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. If you love being outside during the warmer months, you very likely could be one of them. Knowing how to treat the symptoms can lessen the irritation and discomfort you may experience.
The best way to treat any problem is to be proactive in preventing it from happening. In the cases of poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac, you can begin by educating yourself on what the plants look like and where they can be found. Listed below are tips the Mayo Clinic gives to protect yourself from falling victim to the itchy rash delivered by these plants.
If you accidentally touch poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac, you can prevent a rash from occurring or at least minimize the effects by acting quickly. The American Academy of Dermatology lists what steps you should take.
The most important thing is to make sure you act quickly. Sometimes you can prevent a rash if you take action within the first ten to twenty minutes. If it’s been longer, even up to an hour, and you still aren’t itching, following the steps above may help reduce the severity of the reaction you would have from coming into contact with the urushiol oil.
Preventing a rash from occurring will not always be possible, even if you tried your hardest. Sometimes you may not even realize that you came into contact with the plant. Don’t fear! If you end up with a rash, you can do things to help the symptoms not be so bad. The FDA and the AAD both give the following great ideas:
Most reactions caused by the urushiol oil found in poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac plants won’t need to be treated by a licensed medical professional. However, it is important to pay attention to your symptoms. If you notice any of the following, Johns Hopkins says to seek medical help.
As you go out and about this summer and enjoy the great outdoors, stay vigilant and on the lookout for poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. With your newfound knowledge and a little observation, you should be able to keep your summer (and hopefully the summer of those around you) relatively itch-free.
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