There are several different things we can have reactions to whether we are hunting, picnicking, or just doing yard work. One of the most common is poison ivy, but just as common but not nearly as talked about is poison oak and sumac. A lot of people believe that they have to come in direct contact with poison oak to be effected by the poison, and this is not the case. It is also airborne when the bush or plant is burnt. Also, it will keep spreading if it is on clothes or shoes. So as soon as you are done outside you should change your clothes and wash them. Even towels that kids may use to dry off when playing in the water and then end up thrown in the grass can get traces of poison oak, sumac, or ivy on them. So make sure to always wash them after use.
poison oak plants
poison oak on arm
Poison Oak and Sumac Symptoms
Is you have come into contact with either poison oak or poison sumac you will notice symptoms in a matter of hours or days. Usually the first sign is a small rash, that grows and is extremely itchy. You may also continue to get it after the first outbreak and it will end up with a crust like film over the rash. It usually lasts from anywhere from a couple weeks to a month depending upon how bad you get it. Another telltale sign is after getting a rash is getting blister within the rash. You are also susceptible to infection so watch for any swelling, redness, or if the skin gets hot or warm feeling these are all signs of infection.
poison sumac plant
poison sumac on leg
Poison Oak and Sumac Treatment
Unfortunately, there isn't a whole lot to do to treat poison oak and poison sumac. You just have to "ride it out," but there are things you can put on it to help treat the symptoms and help dry it up. There is a product called Ivy Dry that is works fabulous. You just spray it on and it dries in a matter of minutes. It does sting for the first 10 - 20 seconds. Then apply Calamine lotion which help it dry up and prevents itching. You can also take oatmeal baths or even make an oatmeal paste and let it dry onto the rash. Then just peel it off.
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DeborahFantasia (author) from Italy on July 06, 2011:
It is hard to get rid of, I'm dealing with myself and have already had it for about a week and a half. Oatmeal really soothes it and helps the itchiness.
Mimikat from Northeastern NY State, USA on July 06, 2011:
Oh I remember the horrible rash from poison oak my Mom got years ago. It seemed to take forever to get rid of. Oatmeal is a great idea.