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Avoid Poison Ivy

If you have spent time outdoors within the past day and suddenly developed red, itchy skin, you may have a poison ivy rash. This type of rash is caused by an oil called urushiol that is found in the leaves, stems and roots of poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac.

“Most poison ivy rashes appear within 12 to 24 hours of contact with the plant,” says Erica E. Gibson, MD, family practice physician at Saint Francis Medical Center. “Typically, they go away on their own within a few weeks, so all you need to do is use calamine and an over-the-counter corticosteroid cream as needed.”

Erica E. Gibson, MD
Erica E. Gibson, MD

You should see a doctor if the rash is widespread or affects your genitals, or if you notice blisters that are oozing pus.

“To avoid poison ivy, be sure to stay on marked paths when hiking,” says Gibson.

For more information, call 573-331-3000.

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